Elizabeth Anne Holmes is an American former businesswoman who was the founder and chief executive of Theranos, a now-defunct health technology company. Theranos soared in valuation after the company claimed to have revolutionized blood testing by developing testing methods that could use surprisingly small volumes of blood, such as from a fingerprick.
By 2015, Forbes had named Holmes the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America on the basis of a $9 billion valuation of her company. The next year, following revelations of potential fraud about Theranos' claims, Forbes had revised its published estimate of Holmes' net worth to zero, and Fortune had named her one of the "World's Most Disappointing Leaders".
As of September 2021, Holmes is on trial on 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted of any count, Holmes faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
If Elizabeth Holmes is convicted in the Theranos fraud trial, how long will her sentence be?
In the event that Elizabeth Holmes is convicted of at least one count of wire fraud or conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with Theranos, this question resolves as the number of months of imprisonment she is sentenced to serve.
Note in particular that this question resolves on the basis of the sentence, not on the basis of the actual time that is likely to be served in prison, or the actual time that is served in prison. See examples given in the fine print section for further details.
18 U.S. Code § 3553 governs federal sentencing, including outlining the factors to be considered in imposing a sentence, and the application of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in imposing a sentence.
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are non-binding rules that set out a uniform sentencing policy for defendants convicted in the United States federal court system. While adherence to the Guidelines is not mandatory, federal judges must consider them when determining a convicted criminal defendant's sentence. The Guidelines can be viewed here (PDF).
If Elizabeth Holmes is not convicted of any count of wire fraud or conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with Theranos before 2025, this question resolves ambiguously.
Home confinement does not count as "imprisonment."
If Holmes is convicted, but her sentence does not include any term of imprisonment, this question resolves as 0 months.
If Holmes is sentenced to 120 months in prison, the question resolves as 120 months, even if Holmes would not be expected to serve her entire sentence in prison.
If Holmes is sentenced to serve consecutive terms of imprisonment, it is possible (per U.S.S.G. § 5G1.2(d)) the total term of imprisonment could be more than the statutory maximum (20 years, or 240 months) for a single charge. In this case, the question would resolve as greater than 240 months (> 240).
If Holmes' sentence is later reduced or her conviction(s) overturned on appeal, this question's resolution value does not change.