Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos who was convicted of fraud, is preparing to start an 11-year prison sentence. Once hailed as America’s youngest self-made female billionaire, her fall from grace has been dramatic.
Holmes, now 39, was found guilty in January 2022 on four out of 11 fraud and conspiracy charges related to her failed healthtech startup, Theranos. The company, once valued at $9 billion, collapsed when it was revealed that its blood-testing technology was flawed. Holmes’ conviction came after regulatory investigations and a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
While Holmes has made efforts to delay reporting to prison through appeals, she has now lost her most recent appeal. Her lavish lifestyle will be left behind as she enters the confines of a federal prison camp for women in Bryan, Texas. Her prison experience will be a far cry from the glamorous Silicon Valley life she once enjoyed.
Prior to her conviction, Holmes resided on a 74-acre estate in Woodside, one of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest areas. The estate, listed for sale at $135 million, was her home during the trial, although it is unclear if it is the same property recently mentioned in her appeal.
Holmes was known for her extravagant lifestyle, dining at expensive restaurants and indulging in shopping sprees. Once in prison, Holmes will experience a stark contrast to her previous life. Her cell is likely to be the size of a restroom, much smaller than her luxurious home. Descriptions from former inmates at the Bryan prison indicate that the cells have open entryways without doors, and Holmes may share her living space with up to three other prisoners.
Prison life will bring significant changes to Holmes’ daily routine. She will be awakened at 6 a.m. each day and will be responsible for making her own bed, cleaning her cell, and disposing of trash. Failure to fulfill these tasks may result in disciplinary measures. In addition, the prison operates frequent headcounts throughout the day, ensuring that all prisoners are accounted for.
Holmes will have limited freedom to move around the prison camp, and her activities will be strictly regulated. Access to technology will be restricted, although she may possess items such as an MP3 player, a radio, or a watch, but not all at the same time.
While incarcerated, Holmes will have the opportunity to participate in business classes and is required to hold a job within the prison, earning a minimum wage of $0.12 per hour.
Despite her circumstances, Holmes expressed her intention to work on another biotech startup and has new ideas for COVID-19 testing during her time in prison, as mentioned in a recent interview.