Elizabeth Holmes is a former biotech entrepreneur best known as the founder of the failed blood-testing company Theranos. In 2015, Forbes named Holmes the youngest self-made female billionaire but in 2018, she was indicted on fraud charges after it was found Holmes had raised $700 million in investor money by exaggerating claims about the accuracy of their technology. Holmes was sentenced to 11-years and three months in prison which she began serving on May 30, 2023 at FPC Bryan in Texas.
The question of how long Elizabeth Holmes will actually serve in prison has been a hot topic for gossip and tech blogs. It won’t surprise you that they often publish incorrect information or the kind of information that is misleading for the purpose of generating clicks. To address this and provide a real answer to the question, we offer the definitive answer to how long Elizabeth Holmes will actually serve in prison below. (The basis for this calculation is offered in greater detail in our post, “How to Calculate How Much Time You Will Actually Serve in Federal Prison.”)
Calculating How Much Time Elizabeth Holmes Will Actually Serve
- Starting Point: 135 months
- Less Good Time Credits of 20.25 months (equal to 15% of her total sentence), which brings her new total to 114.75 months
- Less First Step Act Credits of 12 months (which she will earn for working and participating in recidivism programming), which brings her new total to 102.75 months
- Less Residential Drug Abuse Program credits of 12 months (which she will likely participate in and earn due to her history of substance abuse), which brings her new total to 90.75 months
Holmes will likely be recommended for the maximum amount of time for residential reentry (which can constitute time in a halfway house or home confinement) which is, in her case, 12 months.
When Will Elizabeth Holmes Return Home from Prison?
All told, it should be expected Elizabeth Holmes will serve about 78.75 months in federal prison and transfer to the halfway house around December 22, 2029. She will then serve 12 months in the halfway house or (most likely) on home confinement and be released from Bureau of Prisons custody on or around December 22, 2030.
Ways Elizabeth Holmes’ Expected Sentence Can Change
There are a number of ways this calculation can change, both against her wishes and in her favor.
- Holmes may lose Good Time Credits or First Step Act Credits due to disciplinary action.
- Holmes may not gain entry into the Residential Drug Abuse Program or she may fail to complete the program. In either case, she would not earn those 12 months of credit.
- Holmes may file and earn Compassionate Release, which can be granted by her sentencing judge under certain circumstances. This is a long-shot but may be considered after the majority of her sentence has been completed.
Remember, the way the Bureau of Prisons calculates sentences does occasionally change. This post was last updated in December 2023.
More About Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes, born on February 3, 1984, in Washington, D.C., rose to prominence as the founder and CEO of Theranos, a health technology company. Raised by a U.S. government aid worker and a congressional committee staffer, Holmes grew up in Washington, D.C., and Houston, Texas. During her high school years, she showed a keen interest in computer programming and even started a business selling C++ compilers to universities.
Holmes pursued her education in chemical engineering at Stanford University. During her freshman year, she was involved in testing for SARS-CoV-1 which sparked her interest in developing efficient medical devices. In 2003, she dropped out of Stanford and used her tuition money to start a healthcare technology company (initially) named Real-Time Cures, later renamed Theranos.
Holmes was inspired partly by her fear of needles and aimed to perform blood tests using only small amounts of blood. Despite skepticism from some of her professors at Stanford, she persisted with her idea and eventually gained the support of her advisor and dean at the School of Engineering. Theranos aimed to revolutionize blood testing by using small amounts of blood and providing rapid results. Holmes achieved significant recognition, being celebrated as the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire by Forbes and gracing the covers of several high-profile publications. However, the company’s success was short-lived. In October 2015, investigative journalist John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal exposed that Theranos was using traditional blood testing machines instead of its proprietary Edison devices for most tests and that the Edison machines might provide inaccurate results. This revelation led to intense scrutiny of Theranos’s practices and technology.
The fallout from these revelations was significant. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found irregularities in Theranos’s Newark, California, laboratory and imposed sanctions on Holmes. Partnerships with companies like Walgreens dissolved, and the FDA ordered a halt to the use of Theranos’s Capillary Tube Nanotainer device. In 2017, the State of Arizona sued Theranos for consumer fraud.
The situation worsened in March 2018 when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Holmes and former president Ramesh Balwani with massive fraud, accusing them of misrepresenting the capabilities of their technology and defrauding investors of over $700 million. As a result, Holmes’s net worth plummeted, and she faced legal consequences, including a prison sentence for defrauding investors. Holmes went to trial, was found guilty, and was sentenced to 11-years and three months in prison which she began serving on May 30, 2023 at FPC Bryan in Texas.
What Did Holmes Do Wrong?
Theranos claimed to have developed revolutionary technology for cost-effective blood testing, but it did not succeed in making this technology work. Despite these struggles to realize their vision, the company repeatedly lied to investors about its capabilities and continued to run tests, sending faulty results to patients.
About Holmes’ Post-Arrest Life
In early 2017, around the same time Theranos was sued by the State of Arizona for consumer fraud, Holmes met William “Billy” Evans. The two were engaged to be wed in early 2019 and were married that summer. Holmes gave first to a son in July 2021 and in October 2022, weeks before her sentencing hearing, it was revealed she was pregnant with a second child.