Prosecutors asked for 15 years in prison for Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the blood-testing startup Theranos, while the defense asked for a maximum sentence of one and a half years, according to papers submitted to the court on Friday.
A conviction for fraud was handed down in January after a closely watched trial of the founder of the startup that promised to revolutionize blood testing.
Her sentence will be decided next Friday in federal court in California.
As the date of the hearing approached, the Public Prosecution Office sent a strict indictment to the court asking it to sentence the 38-year-old woman to 15 years in prison and return $800 million to her victims.
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Prosecutor Stephanie Hinds said Elizabeth Holmes, who was “blinded by ambition … swindled hundreds of millions of dollars from dozens of investors … and put patients at risk.”
But the defendant’s lawyers replied that Holmes posed no danger, did not benefit financially from the case, and therefore did not deserve a sentence of more than one and a half years in prison for failing in her “ambitious project”.
Holmes founded Theranos Medical Diagnostics in 2003 when she was 19, promoting what she claimed were revolutionary devices capable of performing up to 200 medical tests with just a few drops of blood faster and cheaper than traditional medical laboratories.
But after years of propaganda and mobilizing billions of dollars at a later time, these promises did not bear fruit and the promised devices did not see the light of day, according to the Public Prosecution Office.
At its peak, the company was worth nearly $10 billion, and Elizabeth Holmes, the largest shareholder, was at the helm of a fortune of $3.6 billion, according to Forbes.