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Elizabeth Holmes is sentenced to more than 11 years for fraud (nytimes.com)
978 points by doener 20 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 770 comments



All: we had a flurry of threads about this all at once, which isn't surprising, but the comments they got were almost all bad (for HN)—cheap and reflexive rather than thoughtful and reflective. We want the latter, not the former*, so please take a moment to reflect before commenting, and if you'd make sure you're up on https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html we'd appreciate that too.

* https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor...



In a previous thread, I had this at "more than 10 years, less than 60" (yeah, that's an easy bet to make!). The core driver of the sentence is probably the guidelines 2B1.1 table, which scales sentencing levels by economic losses. She was convicted for something like $140MM in fraudulent losses, which by themselves ask for a 24-level escalation (the table maxes out in the mid-40s).

By the numbers, the court was probably quite lenient here. Not to say that's an unjust outcome; the "lenient" option for sentencing on serious federal felonies is still quite harsh.

Edit

I tracked down the prosecutor's sentencing memorandum; they asked for 15 years. So I guess maybe not that lenient.

Later edit

The PSR (the court's own sentencing memorandum, which the prosecution and defense respond to) had Holmes at level 43. I hereby claim that I called this. :P

But the PSR looks at the guidelines level table, which suggests 960 months for level 43, and instead recommends 108 months. So the court imposed a sentence higher than the PSR, lower than the prosecution asked, and all parties asked for much lower than the guideline maximum for the level.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29790880

Later later edit

I'm doing the math wrong; the guidelines range at that level is 240 months per charge (usually served consecutively). Still much higher than the ultimate sentence.


I'm going to stop editing the post (sorry about that). Last addendum: according to the prosecution's sentencing memorandum, the factors that justified the departure from the guideline maximum for her sentencing level:

* long history of family and social support (presumably predictive of lower risk of recidivism, higher cost to relations)

* "collateral punishments" (I think? this refers to civil cases)

* Holmes' personal experience with trauma.

So that's roughly how it works, I guess: you apply the guidelines to get a level, which gives you a maximum, and then you mitigate the maximum in a variety of ways.


What bothers me about the lenient sentencing is because of my assumption of how easy it will be to get out even earlier due to “good behavior”. She’ll probably get out somewhere between 3-8 years in. This is probably also why she has had two pregnancies while awaiting sentencing. One was probably to try and get a reduced sentence, and the other is to have a reason to be let out early. I understand she is nearing 40, but I personally find it irresponsible to have kids literally right before you go to prison.


No: if she doesn't e.g. abuse phones or get into dumb fights with inmates, she'll get 54 days off per year in good time. That's it; that's what you get in the federal system. There is no parole. She didn't get a reduced sentence; she got a sentence that was higher than the PSR.


Ah, I didn’t realize that about federal prison sentences. Thanks for the correction. I still think she deserves every bit of the sentence though.

To my knowledge, she has never even shown remorse or admitted to her crimes. Even her pre-sentencing statement showed no accountability or responsibility for her actions. She continues to paint Theranos as just a failed startup.


I imagine there's some calculus to be done here.

The impact of a mea culpa on sentencing would likely be minimal in the grand scheme of things. I think (for one) she's pathological - as I pointed out in another comment you'd have to be to screw over people like Henry Kissinger and four star Marine Corp general James Mattis who's nickname is actually "Mad Dog". Scary.

Secondly, her post-prison career opportunities are much better if she goes to her grave never admitting or acknowledging any fault or wrongdoing. She still has plenty of fans and true believers. I was interviewing an attorney (of all things) once and she said "All Elizabeth Holmes did was the same thing men do and get away with everyday". Needless to say I didn't hire her.

I don't know if there are any "Son of Sam" laws that apply here but I can definitely see her having a very prosperous career at 50 hitting the speaking circuit, book deal, podcast, whatever capitalizing in 2033 would look like.


This is a tangent, but...does she deserve every bit of 11 years?

I agree that relative to other sentences she does, but what does 11 years mean to you? It's everything to me. I cannot imagine giving up 11 years.

I think we throw around years like slaps on the wrist.


It is indeed a long time and a fair thing to bring up. Without getting into a philosophical discussion about sentences in general though, I think it's fair to point out that she ran a fraudulent company for well over 11 years, benefiting personally and financially from it all, while knowingly doing so, lying, and whatever else. She fired an employee who tried to warn fairly early about her lies, who later committed suicide. She hired investigators to follow Tyler Shultz around and bullied him with lawsuits.

These and more actions of hers do make me personally feel okay with her sentencing, especially since she shows zero remorse. Her final words before sentencing were basically "I'm sorry I ran a failed startup".


Yes, but at the same time, she defrauded her investors for billions, and, as was pointed out elsewhere in this discussion, appears to be completely and totally unrepentant. Her position is that Theranos was just a failed startup and that, essentially, she's being punished because she ran out of runway. Whereas, in reality, Theranos didn't work, and, according to its own scientists, could never have worked. It was snake oil from beginning to end.

I don't think 11 years is an unjust sentence for that.


The investors angle, especially the very early ones, still puzzle me. My only experience with medical labs comes from family. Back the day, when Theranos was hottest thing under the sun, I asked my mom, medical lab tech, about it. Her answer was, I paraphrase, "no way, you need way bigger blood samples for one of the tests if you want proper results". Followed something along the lines of who is providing oversight of the labs and making test equipement is properly callibarted. In Germany, local authoroties do just that.

So, I always wondered, if a lab technician needs a mere glance on the sales pitch to have doubts, how could investors miss it during even the most superficial due dilligence? Or did they catch it, and just say fuck it, we can still dump it through an IPO?

And those celebrities going on its board, was the money so good and the hype so blinding?


In the US there are also authorities making sure (especially medical) machines are in good order. Perhaps the investors trusted the authorities?


they had some big issues with their labs compliance if i remember correctly


She earns the 11 years through the damage caused to people who used her fraudulent product.

Investors losing their skin? That's all risk/reward. They took big risk for big reward but lost.


> Investors losing their skin? That's all risk/reward. They took big risk for big reward but lost.

No, it's not OK and it's not all risk/reward. The risk is whether the product can succeed and be better than others' products/services - not whether the company you're investing in is a fraud - that's what the legal system tries to prevent.


First part ok, second part wtf


She wasn’t prosecuted for that though.


Here’s what confuses me about this. The entire SV culture is have an idea, build a prototype, demo it (whether it works or is just a UI doesn’t not matter because you want to validate the product). Then get capital and go all in on making it work. Now this being a medtech product with heavy research, I am not surprised many things were not working and more engineering/scientist hours were needed. I don’t think she was intentionally trying to defraud anyone, I do believe she ran out of runway before her breakthrough and because no more VC capital was available there was not a clear path forward and people lost faith in her. I mean what was the endgame? So be in research mode forever?

Obviously I don’t condone her unhinged behavior of stalking and threatening whistleblowers, but that should not all amount to 11 years. It will absolutely make any similar startup too risky and they will not find any capital.


I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure this is not nearly as gray an area as you think. Have you ever read an IPO prospectus or a quarterly report from a publicly traded company? They include big lists of risks that can all threaten the performance of the company. Those are there because you have to be truthful with your investors. If you lie to raise money, that's fraud. If it doesn't actually already work and you tell them it does, it's a problem.

What I think in this case is that it's a pity that she wasn't prosecuted for threatening people's health with unreliable test results. They didn't "run out of runway" while in research mode: they were already selling a defective product that is safety-critical. Google Jean-Louis Gasse's piece on his personal experience with Theranos results. It was incredibly callous to gamble with people's lives that way. I do understand that it was easier to prosecute the financial crimes, but it's still unsatisfying that they were not held to account on those actions.


You can't defraud people while you seek the end of your RnD journey. In order to finance this search, she committed fraud and completely misrepresented the state of her efforts. Based on her lies, people gave her money to continue her development efforts. There is no excuse for this.

> I don’t think she was intentionally trying to defraud anyone

we very much disagree here.


You have never been able to outright lie to your investors and nobody faces the risk of following in Elizabeth's footsteps save for those who faced with a losing technology choose to simply lie to their users and investors. You are as much at risk of meeting that fate as you are "risk" of finding yourself in a bank with a gun and a ski mask. If you find yourself outside the bank loading your gun then simply remove the ski mask, place the gun in your glove compartment, and go home.

In medicine you are indeed expected to stay in research mode forever until you have something that provably works. None of this is controversial or complicated.


It's far too little.

I can't get too upset about the investors; they had the opportunity to do their own due diligence and chose not too.

She lied to patients, subverting systems meant to protect people against fraudulent medical care and faking blood test results. This wasn't a game. The punishment for cavalierly toying with people's health was far too lenient.

She earned 25 years or more not just on the merits, but as an example to the next person who decides to make money with fake medical treatments.


I have friends that have faced longer prison sentences for a couple bags of weed in their backpacks. she, her lawyers, and her “previous trauma” get no sympathy from me.


The sentence for your friends was excessive, cruel and unfair. That doesn't stop the fact that 9 years (counting maximum 500 days reduction for good behavior) is a very long time.


I know someone who went to prison 25 years for selling drugs out of a brick and mortar store. He clearly sold a lot. But I don’t understand how sentencing for that is fair in comparison to Elizabeth. Feels like Elizabeth did waaay more damage for way longer. Guess just better lawyers?


Why the sympathy for these white collar criminals that have ruined lives in numbers comparable to crimes that we lock other people up for decades for committing?


In general, I'm not convinced in long sentences, I don't believe they deter crime nor do I believe they help criminals become productive members of society especially given the current state of prisons in most countries. I think that locking up people for decades should only be considered when there's a very real risk of major crime (murder, sexual assault, etc.. ) if the criminal is released. So the sympathy on my part is not only for white collar criminals, it's for the imprisoned.


What state?


Wow, that's truly insane.


As long as we're locking up druggies who never hurt anybody but themselves for that long, we should be doing the same thing to frauds like her.


my concern is that things like this only get prosecuted hard when the victims are themselves filthy rich. I suppose we'll see what happens with sbf...


Why do two wrongs make a right here?


Because if you don't hold rich people accountable to the same laws as poor people then nothing will ever change.


So if she was poor you'd prefer she got a more lenient sentence?


Yes


We’re not: https://www.city-journal.org/myth-of-the-nonviolent-drug-off...

> After President Biden pardoned Americans convicted of federal marijuana possession last week, reform advocates praised his action as a “historic” step away from mass incarceration, while critics lamented it as another blow to public safety. The truth is somewhat less momentous: the pardons affect only about 6,500 people, none of whom is currently in prison


She sold fraudulent medical tests that were widely deployed and people made medical decisions based on those fraudulent tests. For instance in AZ alone this effected 175,940 consumers.

https://fortune.com/2022/01/04/theranos-elizabeth-holmes-hum...

Statistically some of those consumers suffered worse outcomes and others died although the link between those outcomes and Theranos is hard to prove in the individual cases. If you throw bricks off of a skyscraper at the street below without looking you are trying to kill "people" even if you never saw any of your eventual victims. She is being punished for the financial aspect of the affair according to those standards but we shouldn't forget the other aspect.

If she was given one day for each person she defrauded of their health not their money she would be in prison for life which to my thinking is equitable. I have no sympathy for her whatsoever. 11 years isn't even enough.


> I agree that relative to other sentences she does, but what does 11 years mean to you? It's everything to me. I cannot imagine giving up 11 years.

Then don't commit one of the most notable frauds of the 21st century? It seems to me that avoiding this fate you so rightfully fear is incredibly simple and anybody who therefore fails to restrain themselves from doing so has earned every second of their sentence.


> I think we throw around years like slaps on the wrist.

I generally agree, but when your fraud is in the hundreds of millions and billions range, well, that's more than most people will earn in a hundred lifetimes.


I think to me it depends very much on who is losing the money. If you defraud Musk of 1B of his money, that represents less than 1/100th of his wealth and is completely irrelevant.

If you defraud 500K people of all their $2K in savings, then you deserve everything that’s coming to you.

Oddly enough I think the justice system is set up to function the other way around.


What makes it set up to function the other way round?


Can you imagine giving up your life because your blood test results were completely wrong?


If you knew that they were wrong, and you still recommended others to make life-or-death decisions based on them?

Yes. For corporate murder.


"To my knowledge, she has never even shown remorse or admitted to her crimes."

I wouldn't be surprised if her pregnancies were calculated to try to gain leniency. Otherwise it's pretty selfish to have kids knowing you could be in prison for most of their childhood.


The points I'm making here are positive, not normative.


Didn't Shkreli get released significantly earlier than 85% of 7 years?


Yep. He served 4.5 of a 7 year stretch. He got out early by claiming First Step Act ETCs (a new program passed under Trump that gives 1:0.50 day credits for participating in anti-recidivism programs for nonviolent offenders, applicable to moving from full custody to a halfway house).

So, yeah, under the First Step rules, Holmes might see a couple years chopped off that sentence.

I think it's unlikely she serves fewer than 6-7 years. It's a tough sentence!


I was about to mention that - federal prison early release is not some liberal revolving door that's painted in some media outlets. You do your time in federal prison!


Didn’t a lot of prisoners get released because of COVID?


Arguably she could have decided to have children because with her age and the possibility of a 5-20 year sentence that having children may have been impossible had she waited.

I think it's unfair to draw attention to this particular decision that she has made as as callous or scheming when in reality there are already plenty of examples and her having children may have been the most human of them all.


I read, like 10-15 posts daily on social media where people mentions that they have decided to postpone parenthood simply because their circumstances aren't favorable (mostly finance related).

When I read about Holmes in light of those posts, I'd say she is some sort of callous and insensitive person. She never once gave a shit about ethics, people's lives etc. Who knows she decided to have kids simply because it might reduce her sentence rather than because she really wanted to have kids like rest of us do.


it is not callous to get a child just before an expected years long prison sentence? i'd say that's failing at parenthood from the scratch


There are special female sections at some jails esp for woman that is pregnant or has babies - afaik they can stay with the mom until they need to go to school.


Federal prison doesn't have parole, it is a fixed 'good conduct' credit of up to 54 days per year. So she's serving a little more than 9 years minimum.


I’d give 5% odds that someone finagles a presidential pardon for her in a few years.


This is a boring point that people keep making in this thread. If that's actually the case, then none of this discussion matters. If this discussion doesn't matter, jumping into it and pointing that isn't making HN any better for curious discussion. Can it.


I honestly find presidential pardons to be fascinating. The whole idea that a single person can completely subvert the justice system without any true checks and balances is really interesting. It reminds me of monarchy, except that if King Charles (say) attempted to use his legal right to step in and stop justice like this, there would be a revolution, yet it's completely fine for a president to do the same thing on a whim.


The presidential pardon is itself a check for the executive branch to use on the judicial branch.

It's an essential part of the system of checks and balances among the three branches of US government - it prevents the judicial branch from getting too much power compared to the executive branch.


In the US it’s woefully abused, though - political cronies are excused their crimes as a quid pro quo in return for silence - it’s appallingly corrupt and unprincipled.

People who are guilty of a crime and prosecuted fairly under the law should generally serve their sentence. Exceptions to that are best managed by an independent and transparent tribunal who can give principled reasons for commuting specific sentences, for example a prisoner serving a very long term has undergone a genuine moral transformation and is now safe to release, or changes in society have rendered prosecutions of a certain time and place anachronistic and unjust be modern standards.


I'd still argue there ought to be a clemency system that is entirely outside the authority of the judicial branch.

Yes, such a system could be (and has been) abused, but given the power the judicial side has (and how that power has be abused) there has to be a system in place that checks the judicial system's power over individuals. This check prevents over-corruption in the judicial system to an extent. The point is to not allow any branch of government to gain too much power - a "separation of powers".

So many people are wrongfully convicted, either because the law is unjust (many drug laws from the 1990s, for example) or because the judicial system itself is so imperfect--from overzealous district attorneys who count their convictions as merit points (independently of the case merits) to the unjust plea bargain system to police investigators who extract false confessions.


The presidential pardon is a holdover from the British royal pardon. It gets abused regularly to help out cronies and family.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_pardoned_or_gra...

Given some presidents have pardoned HUNDREDS of people this would imply there is a serious problem with the US justice system?

Thankfully a US president can exert his king-like authority and correct this judicial problem.

Question - Given the obvious flaws with the justice system how does one get the presidents attention to get a pardon?

Have you ever looked at the people who were pardoned and the crimes they committed?

Armed bank robbery, drugs, fraud, counterfeiting.


> She’ll probably get out somewhere between 3-8 years in.

I don’t know that it’s that irresponsible given that her family is incredibly wealthy and she’ll be gone for a relatively short time in their childhood.

I mean I know it’s going to be unpopular to say but she’s a blonde-haired, pretty white girl from a wealthy family. I’m astounded it was as long as 11 years (really 3-5). I’m sure she is too, and I imagine it’ll be reduced further on appeal once Balwani has been painted as the criminal mastermind of the operation.

We’ll know better once we see what he gets, and what the justification is for that sentence.


You're wrong about the reasons why but you're still right that it's irresponsible to have kids before going to prison.


Her husband is wealthy, her family is too. I'm sure the child will be fine compared to almost every other child who's parent went to prison. To be honest I think psychological development wise it's probably preferable if the child is 0-6 when their mother goes to prison than let's say 6-12.


She’s a mid-30s woman looking at a decade in prison. It was either now or never.


That makes a lot of sense, and a lot of what people are saying about her family planning decisions read pretty ghoulish to me.

She has a big, supportive family. Her kids will be fine. People write like the kid is going to be raised in a USP, like Bane from Batman.


Fine’ish. I doubt it’s healty to grow up knowing your mother isn’t there because she’s in prison.


They're going to be taken care of by a big, well-off extended family, as hundreds of generations of children have been prior to the modern invention of the nuclear family (hey, Rayiner, remember all the threads about this?). Then, sometime between 1st and 4th grade, depending on how First Step applies to Holmes, they'll also have their mother at home full time rather than visiting her a couple times a month.

They'll be fine. Lots and lots of kids have it actually hard, because their mom is sent away when they're 5 or 6. Here? No problem. I think she's a sociopath, but her family planning decision makes perfect sense, and the people writing comments about how callous or irresponsible she is are telling on themselves in a particular weird way.


Yeah, good luck to the kid with that kind of mother. No matter how you spin it, the kid will suffer because of the mother.


It is not uncommon for kids to have a father in prison growing up.


Or egg freezing.


Don't be creepy.


Embryo freezing is a miraculous, perfectly viable option for women desiring children, but unable to commit to pregnancy for whatever reason until they are too old. It decouples the embryo viability from the mother's physical age.

My wife was forced down this route when diagnosed with cancer at 35 - the chemo and radiation killed all her eggs and forced her into a mandatory regime of chemically induced menopause. The presence of estrogen in her body is now a life threatening condition for the rest of her life.

We were able to freeze three embryos prior to starting treatment, and are considering surrogacy now.


There is nothing creepy about egg freezing. There is something very creepy about telling a woman that she should freeze her eggs rather than having a kid, because you've decided that's more appropriate.


Nobody said she "should" freeze her eggs, and the fact that you jumped to that assumption is extremely creepy.


What reasons am I wrong about?


Parole being part of the calculus


That was only one which was already corrected.


> Holmes' personal experience with trauma.

Oh give me a fucking break. Every criminal has experience with trauma. This is the first time I've seen that brought up to justify a particular sentence.


She was also responsible for traumatising many employees and a whistle-blower.


Isn’t it always brought up a rich white criminal is sentenced?

Actually I guess they don’t even have to be white, just rich is probably enough.


As far as I know, it's rich women of all colors. Rich white guys don't get the "trauma" defense (although they get extra "good character" points).


Rich white guys get the "affluenza" defense.


There are arguments that sections of society should not be sent to prison.

Like, ever.

Enjoy: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/06/...



There's an idiotic paywall, but seriously, does WaPo believe what they wrote there?

Seriously as bad as that other paper saying we should probably let ourselves get robbed a bit more.


The headline is clickbait.

The article is mild proposals to rehabilitate, e.g. drug users.


What are you talking about? The article proposes, at length, that women’s prisons should be eliminated. I.e., exactly what the headline suggests.


It proposes alternative measures for non-violent offences.

I see the title as a rhetorical device.

> If we can’t close down women’s prisons, we can at least slow down their expansion.


No, wapo doesn't, but its author may


I see no paywall.

Try the original article:

https://theconversation.com/the-case-for-closing-down-womens...


I didn't encounter a paywall but you can read the article at https://archive.ph/5E3Ah if you're so inclined.


> long history of family and social support (presumably predictive of lower risk of recidivism,

Given the nature of her crime, wouldn't strong unwavering familial and social support increase the risk of recidivism? Like, if she was guaranteed to be shunned by all, she would be at 0 risk of it.


I was watching White Collar Advice[0] an hour ago and there was an interesting fact(25m30s) that she didn't work since December 2018. If she drove for Uber, it would probably influence the judge.

By the way, the whole video is interesting.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFFxLwvGLhU


Worth bearing in mind this person also predicted a 5 year sentence. The case he's making for her working (she'd have picked up a letter of support from her employer for her defense sentencing memorandum) seems really weak.


I think it may have been a good idea to get a job as an Uber driver anyway as it gives an idea, though probably intentionally false, of what her life will be like after jail and a reflection of acceptance of new reduced standing in life. The ability to endue and handle in good spirits the regular humiliation from the occasional passengers recognizing her.

For the jury it could factor in as part of the punishment. It would make concrete the fall from grace and signal a complete loss of hope of trying again. Ending up an Uber driver would also be a deterrent to white collar criminals who may not know what jail is like but do have an idea to what being an Uber driver is like. I think for some people they’d rather go to jail than risk that kind of humiliation. So punishment, prevention, and deterrence… might help.


In fact, she spent the last several years volunteering as a rape crisis counselor, as her defense sentencing memo points out. Justin Paperny, by the way? Not a lawyer.


Didn't know that. Still, that's a bit on the nose, suggests that's she still intends to 'help' people. A cynical part of me even thinks it's yet another way for her to make things about herself, given her own claims of rape. If I was judging I would consider it as a thinly veiled ploy and a continuation of a pattern of deception, as opposed to if she was driving an Uber, then I'd be thinking 'she really did hit rock bottom'


I'm not sure what any of this has to do with what I said. I don't like Elizabeth Holmes either? Bad Elizabeth. Bad!


> it gives an idea, though probably intentionally false, of what her life will be like after jail

IIRC she married a hotel heir. She's never going to have to work if she doesn't want to.


> Holmes' personal experience with trauma.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of this being a consideration. Someone had trauma in their life so they get a lenient sentence for defrauding people out of money?

Maybe this isn’t consistently applied across states and gender.


Quite unfortunate that the media, and all the famous people that pushed and benefited from this pyramid scheme get off scot free just by claiming ignorance.


Do you want your government spending millions of dollars chasing down people who have very little chance of being prosecuted?

I’ve read pretty deeply into Theranos over the years and if anyone is to blame it’s some of the top level engineering/science/executive employees who knew it was bullshit but stuck around (even with the constant threats and intimidation by Sunny Balwani who IMO is even more guilty than Holmes).

Wealthy investors buying into something the media and half-interested retired Washington DC power players, sitting on countless boards, who care more about dinner parties than technology isn’t that surprising or malicious.

You can maybe blame our current credibility systems for pushing it (just like FTX) but at the same time this is a classic human flaw to join the crowd and seek validation from celebrity. The fact it was a giant loser is plenty of disincentive for those in the future. Plenty of those wealthy people lost big… it wasn’t regular joe holding the bag.

The sheen of the genius tech entrepreneur (in this case with the added phoney multiplier of female tech CEO) has taken a big hit in recent years.


What do you mean? You don't think VC's, media and other people that amplify scams should be liable for the BS that they amplify? So they get to be fact checkers, and tell everyone what's right or wrong, but they have ZERO liability when they cause huge societal damage? There is no way Theranos would have been able to pull off these scams if the strongmen that supported them didn't bully whistleblowers and the media didn't amplify the scam. They can not simply claim ignorance. They all wanted to cash in.


> There is no way Theranos would have been able to pull off these scams if the strongmen that supported them didn't bully whistleblowers

(Citation please)

What VCs and Washington DC investors/board members were directly complicit in covering up the fact the science was bullshit early on? Which whistleblowers were silenced or bullied by them?

You seem to know some juicy details I haven't heard about.

Maybe you mean Erika Cheung? She did indeed contact George Schultz (former Secretary of State, 95yrs old at the time of WSJ expose) after befriending Tyler Schultz (his nephew) who worked there and who was also critical in bringing down Theranos. There was no evidence George even replied to her email or tried to 'bully' her (from what I've read it was just ignored). Not long after she went to WSJ which is what took down Theranos. She's still friends with Tyler.


> I’ve read pretty deeply into Theranos over the years and if anyone is to blame it’s some of the top level engineering/science/executive employees who knew it was bullshit but stuck around (even with the constant threats and intimidation by Sunny Balwani who IMO is even more guilty than Holmes).

Sunny and Elizabeth heard from these employees that it wouldn't work. Then they kept pitching that it would work. Unfortunately our laws are such that the only prosecutable crimes in the Theranos case were for defrauding investors, and the only people guilty of defrauding investors were the ones who pitched to those investors.

And some of those scientists and engineers probably also suffered from wishful thinking that this might be a solvable problem. Wishful thinking is not a crime, pitching wishful thinking as already solved to investors is a crime.


Also, putting her in jail for 11 years for "misleading investors" is just dumb.


That's just the crime. The sentencing decision takes into account everything she did around that crime.

That's why a lot of first-time petty criminals get light sentences (except when drugs are involved - mandatory minimums kick in) compared to the guidelines.


FTX is over $1 billion and the table maxes out at $550 million, so that should be fun. Lawmakers should revisit that.


That's true, and it does mean that once you hit $550MM, you might as well keep going, but on the flip side, the full sentence accelerator for 2b1.1 at $550MM gets you above 20 years by itself.


I’d wager bankman-fried is going to disappear, or mysteriously die in India.

Gerry Cotton had far less money on the table and he supposedly died abroad.


He may go for it but I don't think he will succeed.

Come on, this is a guy who had:

  * A company with a constant revenue stream in a business that could be pretty much 100% automated.
  * Backing from the largest investors and VC funds worldwide.
  * Valuable connections with people higher up in academia and the prevailing political party in the US (all the way up to the president).
  * All the money in the world and free reign over what to do with it.
  * Unparalleled info and insights about the crypto markets.
  * A massive group of followers that found his antics particularly alluring and who were trusting him with their money more and more everyday.
  * A team of geniuses who were absolutes alphas from quantitative trading, won math olympiads and were constantly on drugs to enhance their cognition 1,000% (ok, this one's sarcasm)
And he still managed to f*ck it up. I don't think he's capable of pulling off a Hillblom, tbh.


Ramesh ("sunny") at Theranos got $40 million bucks when he cashed out after a brief period of working at a dot com startup and he blew most of it on his divorce and Theranos. On the upside, he got to date 19 year old Holmes. People are alleging that SBF being romantic partners with Alameda's chief trader Elisson was also a bad idea for similar reasons.

Btw, does anyone know where the heck Elisson went? I haven't seen any articles specifying her current whereabouts.


I heard she went to hong kong shortly after the collapse started. She then went to Dubai to avoid extradition.

I don’t have a source. I heard it in an interview with someone following the case.


I have heard unsubstantiated rumor that she may be trying to make it to Dubai, take that with a dash of salt.


They are either industry saboteurs planted by big banking interests or they are complete imbeciles.

Same can be said about people who gave them money. It's just retarded. The whole business went completely against the core purpose of cryptocurrency. Anyone who invested in him or had their money sitting on his exchange (or any bankrupt exchange) deserved to lose it. It's scary to think what damage large amounts of capital could do in the hands of such idiots; society is better off now.


I ended up losing a significant amount of money on the FTX debacle, and I want to demonstrate that even risk-aware people who tried to act relatively prudently can still end up losing money. I also want to argue that while most parties involved (myself included) made wrong decisions one way or the other throughout this -- and as a result are greatly suffering from the consequences -- that we should focus less on blaming the victims, and more on prosecuting the actual villains, while figuring out a clever way of preventing such large-scale fraud from happening again.

Here is my story:

- I put $50k into FTX last year. The reason for putting the money into FTX was because it was the only large-scale platform that allowed me to trade the specific token that I wanted to trade. - My investment proved to be more successful than I had anticipated, and I turned the initial investment into $600k by the end of last year. - By the spring of this year, I had sold my entire position and was now sitting with $400k USD on FTX (as I didn't sell everything at the top). - At that time, I attempted to withdraw the entire amount into my bank account, but immediately ran into issues with my bank. - For background, I'm a dual citizen, originally from South America but now living in the US. As you may be aware, US citizens were not allowed to use FTX.com; hence I used my South American citizenship to get verified by FTX, with the condition that I could only withdraw to a South American bank in my name. - I spent about 10-20 hours this spring attempting to make the withdrawal, which included dozens of phone calls and emails with my bank as well as the FTX support team, in order to execute the transaction. But the process turned out to be more complicated than I had expected. - Full details are not necessary here as I wish to somewhat protect my identity, but it became clear to me that this process would be very difficult to complete unless I was physically present at the bank in South America. - While I considered that keeping the money on FTX for a few more months was not risk-free, I deemed the risk relatively low. A part of that judgement was the fact that FTX was an exchange, and not a bank nor a prop-trading house, and thus I viewed the risk of a run on the bank scenario, or FTX speculating away my money in trading, as low. - What instead worried me was that FTX could get hacked, or that the founders could take my money and run, but given the high-profile nature of the company and its founders, I made the call that keeping the money on FTX for a few more months was not an overwhelming risk factor. - I also considered converting my money into BTC and transferring them to cold storage, but ended up not doing that as I worried about a crypto meltdown, and I reasoned that my money was safer sitting in USD at FTX (despite the aforementioned risks). I further reasoned, that given that the amount was already quite large, that it would be even harder to explain to a local bank where the money had come from once it had gone off an exchange and then come back on again. - For all of these reasons, I decided to wait, and was planning to do the transfer in less than 2 months from today, once back in South America.

We obviously know what happened next, and we know that pretty much any other solution would have been better for me. But with the information available to me at the time, it wasn't obvious that what happened would happen. I believed I had reasoned appropriately about the risks and made the correct decisions at the time when I made them, with the information available at the time.

My point is that we don't know the stories behind why so many people kept their money on FTX. Perhaps some were more reckless than others, and perhaps someone reading this thinks that I was reckless too. But even so, in my view, none of us "deserved" to have this happen to us. So instead of vilifying the victims, the focus should be on holding the perpetrators responsible, while thinking of a better way forward so that this doesn't happen again. Thanks for reading.


Fair enough. It sounds like a real roller coaster ride of good luck followed by terrible luck. I understand that it's sometimes unavoidable to move tokens to an exchange when you are about to cash out. The timing was just really unfortunate.

I guess there is a lesson to be learned about investing in tokens which can only be acquired and disposed of on a single exchange; that is a bit of a red flag. Unfortunately, with crypto, it's better to be paranoid. Many governments and big banks don't want crypto to succeed so these kinds of major collapses are to be expected... I wouldn't be surprised if some of them may be orchestrated intentionally.


Agreed. Well, live and learn. I tried to steer clear of the obviously shady things (like yield farming, etc.) which to me seemed unsustainable all along, but as it turns out, there are ample ways to lose anyway. Thanks for the comment.


I'm curious - all of this makes sense, but what was the disadvantage to buying BTC (Or Eth, or whatever) on FTX, transferring it to Coinbase, and cashing out on Coinbase?


Maybe this is a naive question with regards to how AML / KYC work in crypto, but would Coinbase (and in the extension, my bank) accept an incoming transfer of that size if they didn't know for sure that either 1) the money was coming from "me", or 2) that I had at least obtained it legally?

In my early conversations with my bank, they stated that among other things, they would need to see proof of where the funds had come from (proof of original $ deposit into FTX, FTX trading history, etc.), and I just assumed that sending the crypto to a different exchange would add another layer of complexity that would make that process much harder.

But perhaps I took an overly conservative (and now catastrophic) stance when trying to do everything as cleanly as possible.

I have a sneaking feeling your approach might have worked (or at least it's hard to imagine it being a worse outcome than what actually happened). I'm feeling pretty stupid now for not exploring this further. I guess I never expected FTX would just disappear, and so I didn't explore every option as fully as I should have. I appreciate your suggestion in any case.


I've never moved more than a few thousand dollars around at a time... but you absolutely could move that much into coinbase and withdraw into a US account. Might have some forms to fill out, might have a small waiting period. Will have to send coinbase your US ID etc. But i would be surprised if you had too many issues.


Thank you, that is helpful to know for future reference if I'm ever in a similar situation. I have also moved smaller amounts in the past without much problems (though this was years ago), but you are probably right that this too would have been doable.


The short answer is no, most exchanges are happy to take large deposits straight from an Eth or BTC wallet with a little bit of KYC, but your US bank might have put up the same guardrails and Coinbase could always fold in the same way that FTX has.


Fair enough, and thank you for the response. Reading some of the other responses, it seems people are generally of the view that it probably would have been doable, but perhaps not without some level of hickup, particularly with regards to the US bank. I guess I will never know 100% since this is now in the past.

And the comment around Coinbase also makes sense, though I suppose my exposure to that risk could have been minimized assuming the money would ideally only have been sitting there for a few days. In retrospect, I should have obviously attempted the Coinbase route.


I don't know if Coinbase would take that much BTC and immediately cash it out to USD and transfer to your bank.

The part that should be no problem is the American bank itself, if you ask first for instructions. Coinbase is a legit American entity. Procedure should be same as making large transfers or consolidations of IRAs or liquidating brokerage holdings to buy a house.


Thank you for the comment. I hadn't spent all that much time thinking about this from an AML / KYC perspective up until now, but I recall in years past when I wanted to make a bank transfer from Colombia to the US, it felt like I was holding my breath for the money to eventually arrive (and this was bank <-> bank, without crypto involved), given all the paperwork and questions asked.

The money did arrive successfully by the way, but I just took away from that exercise that banks are really, really strict about money transfers and the origin of monies. This all has me thinking that getting crypto back into the banking system -- to the extent it's easy today -- might only get harder in the future.


I was wondering if this was your concern - I just didn't know how it stacked up to trying to move hundreds of thousands of dollars from a bank in Brazil to a US one.


Good point. My experience with moving to and from South America to the US is that it has been doable, but always with the feeling of "will the money get stuck somewhere this time" (and I never tried anything near this amount).

My concern in this specific situation was greater around moving money from crypto -> bank, vs. bank -> bank. My general sense is that once the money is inside of the traditional banking system, it's less likely to face issues.

But coming to the bank with a wad of cash (or crypto), in my view, could trigger all kinds of issues (in theory at least).


> risk-aware people who tried to act relatively prudently can still end up losing money.

Risk-aware people don't gamble more money than they want to lose. The moral assumption behind "blaming the victims" of crypto schemes is that their losses are little more than a reckoning of their optimism, ignorance and greed, not a tragic economical ruin.

> I turned the initial investment into $600k

If you call it an investment you weren't very risk-aware at the time.


To me, a gamble is something where you go in with the intention of let's say, a 55% chance of winning, and a 45% chance losing it all; or a 10% chance of massively winning, and a 90% chance of losing it all. Whereas investing in things like equities is less binary (as it's rare for things to go to $0), and if you have good investment skills, investing seems to me to offer much greater ways to exploit inefficiencies in the market than what gambling does, and can create much better returns, no matter the asset class.

Obviously one has to be careful which asset class one invests in. High yield bonds are riskier than investment grade bonds; equities are riskier than high yield bonds; bluechip crypto is riskier than equities, and speculative tokens are riskier than bluechip crypto. I think all that is understood, and I was well aware of that aspect of the risk. But an aggressive choice of asset class doesn't necessarily turn it into a gamble, so I reject the way you framed this as a "gamble".

The one thing I would consider a gamble was my "gamble" that FTX would not go under before I had a chance to take my money out. I think it's probably fair to call that a gamble, if that's what you are referring to.

In either case, it's interesting how humans tend to be a quite a compassionate species in face of adversity, and yet, this specific topic seems to trigger something in the human psyche that elicits vitriol and compassion in roughly equal amounts, even as many people are clearly facing adversity. I'm not judging that reaction, but I'm curious as to why it's happening.


Why can't you feel sympathy for someone whose money was _stolen_


Sympathy, charity and considering them idiots aren't mutually exclusive feelings.


Too late now, but another option might have been converting to USDC and self custody, and or moving to coinbase to withdraw.


Thank you, I responded to a sibling comment that offered a similar suggestion -- I appreciate any input from you if you are able to opine.


To expand on parent, you may wish to read a little more about USDC, Uniswap and non custodial wallets (also known as self custody).

Uniswap would allow you to trade any token that follows the ERC20 interface (not all of them do, but many). USDC would allow you to mitigate day to day price volatility. Non custodial wallet would mean the burden lies on you to secure the funds, but a CEX getting hacked or investing away your deposits is not possible. Self custody also means you could move some to another CEX in US to attempt withdrawal.

Also should note there are different and additional risks with this approach: you might lose your keys, get phished/hacked, or use the blockchain incorrectly, or USDC/Uniswap contracts could fail, etc.

Very sorry to hear about your situation.


Thank you! I'm not very familiar with USDC, though I am familiar with Dai and the MakerDAO ecosystem, and it looks like USDC serves a similar purpose, even though the design between the two looks different (one is centralized, one is not). Perhaps those two assets offer similar order of magnitude tradeoffs in terms of tail risk. In retrospect, putting the money in USDC (or Dai) or similar would have been a good course of action.

I realize this wasn't evident from my initial post, but I actually go back many years with crypto and have run both airgapped computers at home as well as used Trezors without mistake (including using Uniswap), so I'm less worried about losing my keys or committing other such user errors.

Ironically, while I used to worry more about using CEX's (thinking they could hacked, or the founders could run away with the money), over time I gravitated towards worrying more about actually getting my crypto money back into the banking system, without running afoul of AML / KYC hurdles, and I thought CEX's would be the less risky option in this regard.

And in this case specifically, once the money on FTX became sizable, I became even more paranoid about this, and I guess I got set in my own thinking of not wanting the money to leave the exchange for fear of not being able to transfer it back into the banking system.

In retrospect, it's funny (and obviously sad at the same time) how I overly worried about one thing, while completely missing out on what the real risk was.

You all have been extremely helpful, so I thank you very much (and not least for allowing me to put some of my thoughts in writing and reasoning with you about it). We live and learn -- now onto figuring out how to make up for the money lost!


Every approach has risks, and the right approach depends on the person. I'd never reccomend self custody for my mother (actually I'd never reccomend crypto for my mother) but if you have the technical skills and are personally responsible self custody might be safer than a cex. It also let's you take advantage of defi, which has a whole other set of risks and benefits.


Risk-aware by gambling $50K on shitcoins knowing that all crypto is ponzi all along (since you're in this forum)


I wrote about what I see as the difference between gambling and investing in a prior comment, if of interest.

But I am genuinely much more curious around the human psyche in situations like these, and I'm seeking your thoughts if you would be kind enough to offer them since I think we are on different sides on this on, in this specific instance.

My experience with the human species is that they generally err on the side of compassion, vs. judgement, but less so in this case. If you could share your thoughts on what might drive the latter rather than former in this case, that would be highly appreciated.

On a personal note, and as I was clear to point out in the parent comment, I am not looking for any sympathy here, I'm a grown man and I am adept at handling adversity. But nor am I necessarily looking for vitriol unless there is a good reason for it. Your thoughts on this topic are appreciated.


> My experience with the human species is that they generally err on the side of compassion

I don't think extreme levels of greed deserves compassion. It's been more than 10+years. I can't have compassion for 20 years. People get tired man and don't care anymore and actually hope for the worst (but don't say it).


Interesting. So it may be your view of this constituting an extreme level of greed that drives your sentiment in this case. That makes more sense to me, though we clearly differ in our assessment of "extreme" and "greed".

Out of curiosity, would you then apply the same logic to people investing in SPAC's, growth stocks at extreme valuation levels, triple leveraged ETF's, doubling down on NKLA when their trucks are shown to roll down hills, etc.? Or is it strictly confined to crypto? To me, these are all different manifestations of the same thing -- a decade of easy money, enabled by flawed monetary policy. An investor in my view can still be rational (not greedy) while still taking interest in such opportunities.

Also, what if this were only 5% of my portfolio (I'm not disclosing the actual %'age, but consider the 5% for argument's sake), would you still consider it an extreme level of greed?

I have my own views of what constitutes extreme greed, but that tends to have more to do with how certain individuals (in this case FTX's executives, but can also be applied obvious scams like OneCoin, and many other scenarios) illegally enrich themselves by exploiting regular people. That, to me, is true extreme greed.

Either way, I think your response is interesting and I appreciate the extra color.


> investing in SPAC's, growth stocks at extreme valuation levels, triple leveraged ETF's, doubling down on NKLA when their trucks are shown to roll down hills, etc.?

Yes. I invest in leveraged etfs. You can't compare NKLA/crypto/SPACs with UPRO for example.

> would you still consider it an extreme level of greed?

I consider the whole crypto ecosystem. I mined bitcoin for some time when it was $300 and thought it was full ponzi even then.


What an unreasonable comment.


> * Unparalleled info and insights about the crypto markets.

Since both his hedge fund and exchange lost billions, I doubt it.

Except for going long in a bull market, was he ever successful in anything?

> * A team of geniuses who were absolutes alphas from quantitative trading, won math olympiads and were constantly on drugs to enhance their cognition 1,000% (Ok, this one's sarcasm)

Again, they've lost massive amounts of money trading.

If your strategy makes a lot of money for years, but then loses more than anything you've ever earned, it's a crappy strategy.


> If your strategy makes a lot of money for years, but then loses more than anything you've ever earned, it's a crappy strategy.

Depends who's money you're playing with. If you profit on the way up and only your customers lose on the way down. Then high-risk strategies are (unfortunately) always better.

My trading strategy has never made me billions nor lost billions. Yet I kinda feel like there's a solid possibility many of these fools will end up waaay better off than me. Assuming they can stay out of jail.


Some of these fools stash the wealth on the side for when they get out of jail. During their sentence they take classes, meditate and self actualize or possibly write a book about some life lesson they just learned in prison. White collar crime is quite lenient in punishments, jail may even be a good experience for some


>ok, this one's sarcasm


Hmm, I thought only the part about the drugs was sarcasm.


> And he still managed to f*ck it up.

Plenty of people fuck up in similar or even better circumstances.

What amazes here is the sheer magnitude and low intellect. They did no accounting. They bought property in their own names out of company (customer) assets. He was still "trying to raise money" as of yesterday, in full denail.

This is not an excessively sophisticated criminal mind, he doesn't seem to understand why people would take issue with his actions.


MIT grads need to stay in their lane. This kind of incompetent deceit at the highest levels of power and influence is supposed to only be possible with a degree from or Harvard and Yale.

edit: what I mean, trollishly, is that I expected more conscientiousness from a room of MIT quant types, even if business process and diligence was not in their wheelhouse.


giving so much money to democrats surely deserves a presidential pardon


To paraphrase SBF paraphrasing someone else, don't throw (Roger) stones in a glass house.


At some point tacking years on just doesn't do anything to change the reality of the sentence.


I disagree simply because many people go on to commit the same crime again after release. Most notably with a few serial killers who continued after release.

That isn’t to say we should lock everyone who commits a serious crime up for life, just that there can be utility for seemingly excessively long sentences.

It’s really the ~5-10 year convictions that are over used IMO. I think we have lost sight of how large a penalty 3 years actually is.


I think parents point was that if you’re old enough a 40 year sentence might as well be a 1,000 year sentence, because you’re never getting out either way.


IDK, fraud gamble for the chance to become a billionaire sounds way more attractive if the worse case is 3 years in prison. 3 years is less than college whereas 11 is basically k-12.


Fraud on that scale definitely deserves a stronger penalty.

I was more talking about cases like this where prosecutors sought 10 years for a protester getting excessively confrontational with police officers and now she is serving 4 years in prison: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/pregnant-black-activist-...

The jury acquitted Martin of inciting a riot and reached no verdict on whether she threatened officers’ lives. Her legal team was “elated” when jurors found her guilty only of breaching the peace, punishable by no more than a $500 fine and 30 days in jail, investigator Tony Kennedy recalled.

State law defines breachers of the peace as any disturbers, “dangerous and disorderly persons” or people who utter “menaces or threatening speeches.” But prosecutors presented the charge as a “high and aggravated” crime, which carries up to 10 years imprisonment. Rosado said Judge Kirk Griffin did not allow her to explain the distinction, and the possibility of a much stiffer penalty, to the jury.

I am not saying she does or doesn’t deserve to go to prison, I am more commenting on how the options go from 30 days to multiple years between the seemingly similar crimes.


> there can be utility for seemingly excessively long sentences

That’s only if there is no rehabilitation. The US system seems to be focused solely/overtly on punishment, which obviously means that whoever got locked up hasn’t had their mental state improved during the time of their lockup.


There is some rehabilitation, but obviously not what we'd like to see. I work with formerly incarcerated individuals that have ended up going on to do quite well.

There's also a phenomenon where gang bangers and the like "age out" — they just seem to stop. Unfortunately for many, this realization often occurs in the middle of a very lengthy sentence (they typically drop out, debrief, and enter protective custody).

Sadly, for many rehab isn't just a matter of wanting to do better. Very large numbers of the incarcerated can't do something as seemingly trivial as parse a bus schedule. Aside from undereducation, a fair amount are objectively unintelligent. When all you know is crime and you have a massive uphill battle just to be what many would consider a functional adult, recidivism seems inevitable for some. What makes it worse is that cultural reasons prevent many from reaching out for help while they're behind the wire. It's frankly sad to see, but we're getting better —the investments being made in tablets and the like will hopefully bear fruit in the coming years.


Serial killers should be locked up for life. Full-stop.


Yeah but sometimes you don’t know they are serial killers until they go out and do it the second time.


And sometimes they let them go, this list has a surprising number of people who got long though limited sentences.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_serial_killers_by_numb...


Many people will gladly take $100M for spending 11 years in prison.


You don’t keep the $100M when you get caught


Almost everybody would take $100M for 11 years; that's a $9MM/year return. Which is why that's not the deal.


Since you say "almost everybody", I assumed you have been behind bars yourself and know how easy it is to survive not being raped, stabbed to death, pushed to wolves by other gang or being killed by that gang for not going against another one, being forced to snitch by guards, or being snitch out to other inmates in retribution for not snitching out to the guards, and much much more.

No I don't think you spent a day behind. If you were to, you wouldn't be merely pricing your life at $24k per day.


I don't think you've read much about low-minimum security federal prisons.


No prison is fun to be in, trust me. No matter how "low" it is.


You forgot to add female.


Look up life expectancy in prison. It’s not much worse than living in Chicago.


Won't she be out in 5 with good behaviour, or doesn't it work like that outside the movies?


The federal government doesn't have a parole system, and the minimum amount of time you have to serve of your sentence is 85% regardless of good behavior credits.


At the Federal level there is no parole. She gets 54 days off per year for "good behavior". So even if she gets that every year she still serves 9 years.


Watch as SBF makes the sentence wraparound and gets zero years, because he's well connected through daddy and his donations.


I think her being pregnant and having a child definitely made the sentence a little lighter than if she were otherwise. I do wonder if she'll even serve the full sentence.


I think getting pregnant was part of her plan to get away from prison. Well 11 years is still 11 years. Tough luck!


I don't think it worked. Her ultimate sentence was higher than the PSR.


And she messed the life of 1 young child and 1 unborn baby just in the hope that it'll help.


Again: her sentencing memorandum doesn't even seem to mention the kid. We should be careful about making stuff up to fit a narrative.


I believe you misunderstood my comment.

If I was facing a jail time, I would NOT have kids till there is clarity. But I guess that is the difference between me and …


It’s a choice between have a child now or never have any children.


Well, I'm glad that she did the thing that she wanted, at the cost of another human being getting to grow up without a mother.


Not a good look to argue whether a woman should have the right to reproduce.

Her children will live better lives than 99% of the children on the planet despite not having their mother present until their pre-teen years.


Er no - the loss of a mother is extremely traumatic to a child. It can lead to long term mental health issues and physical health issues.


Lots of kids suffer worse deprivations than having one parent in jail. Life is tough, but these kids probably have a better than average shot at a good life.


And what makes you think that?


They'll be raised by a wealthy family with every material advantage in life. Some estimates have it that around 1 in 8 children in America go hungry at some point in their childhoods. So even if these kids are just fed regularly, that puts them ahead of millions of children.


The child did not lose a mother, if he/she never had one. Also she'll be out around the time the child will start elementary school. So yes the child will still be in a better spot than 99% of all children in single family households and probably than almost all in low income ones as well.


It's not a question of rights, since she obviously has them, it's a question of 'How fucked up is it to put your desire to have a child over that child's wellbeing.'

At some point in the desire to wellbeing ratio, that equation crosses the line into 'incredibly selfish'. Children aren't just trophies for their parents.


The court doesn't need to mention it to discreetly take it into account. Otherwise why wait until April to begin the sentence? Did they mention the pregnancy there? This is a legal, social, and political orchestration process, not a computational system.


There are lots of reasons the BOP would prefer to avoid incarcerating pregnant women. Surrenders are usually 4-6 weeks out; with the holidays, that pushes out into January. She's not getting that much of a break.


Perhaps a delay to give birth?


Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Far-out surrender dates are not that unusual.


how did she mess those up? from what I hear, those kids will be taken care of better than most kids on this planet. Sure, not having the mother close is terrible, but who are we to judge that they would have been better off never born? And yes, she probably did this intentionally, but it really was her last chance to even have kids.


PSRs aren't adversarial to the defendant. It was lower than the prosecutor's sentencing memorandum, which is what a judge usually follows.


I wonder if she'll talk to her child in a baby voice or if she'll continue to use her standard fake voice.


> I think getting pregnant was part of her plan to get away from prison. Well 11 years is still 11 years. Tough luck!

I think it's more likely she was worried she wouldn't still be able to have children by the time she got of prison. Probably a nebulous mixture of reasons, but I can't believe it's just a desperate ploy for leniency. It's not unusual for people to really want children, regardless of their circumstances.


She will serve the full sentence. There is no federal parole.


It's not parole, but with "good conduct"[1] she'll probably serve around 9 years (I didn't bother to do the exact math).

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_conduct_time


The same math gets me over 10 years, but: fair point. She'll serve most of her sentence. The key thing is that it's pretty deterministic; she's not getting out after a couple years, as can be the case for some state felonies.


Yep! I only added that because people frequently confuse parole with "earned time" (and you're right about the math, since I forgot to rate-out the time she can't earn).


Rule of thumb is you'll do 85% of your sentence in the actual federal prison, 15% can be served in a community corrections center. These are usually halfway houses, or county jail if no halfway house in the area contracts with the fed.


Is federal prison worse than a county jail? On its face, my initial reaction is that I’d rather stay out of a county jail.

(But I’ve never done time or really looked into it)


Federal prison is much better than a county jail, and low/minimum security federal prison better still.


tl;dr: federal prisoners get almost two months per year for good behavior.

> Under United States federal law, prisoners serving more than one year in prison get 54 days a year of good time on the anniversary of each year they serve plus the pro rata good time applied to a partial year served at the end of their sentence, at the rate of 54 days per year.


> 54 days a year of good time

I know it's not at all the same, but that's better than some vacation policies ...


Damn bombcar, that's a good point. Thinking about it this way, it's fucked up. American Life. What the hell are we doing!?

There are no weekends where she's headed, though.


>There are no weekends where she's headed, though.

Shit, they sentenced her to 11 years at Twitter?


LOL. Shit, please shoot me an email if you dare.


> She will serve the full sentence. There is no federal parole.

She could be pardoned.


I cannot see either political party wanting to. Holmes is persona non-grata politically at this point.


That's really grasping at straws though.


“Theranos, Holmes and former company president Sunny Balwani were charged with fraud by the SEC in 2018”, “Holmes gave birth to her first child on July 10, 2021”.

Wow - that’s some high level not-giving-a-shit about other humans (the kids). Or even more cynical, sociopathically using kids/pregnancy to try to get a reduced sentence?


Not need to be unnecessarily harsh. He is 38 now and could expect to spend the rest of their fertile life as a woman in a jail. If she wants to have a baby this narrow window opportunity was her last good option, basically.

A pregnancy in jail would be adding a lot of trauma. Her health circumstances can take a turn for worse, there is a possibility of HIV and STD, and her health will not improve probably while in jail. After jail, she can be too older.

Is doable as long as she has a supportive partner and family. The baby would choose to be alive in any case. She is a grifter, but is also an human being and has the right to arrange her maternity in the best terms that she can afford.


Nothing would have stopped her from banking her eggs and carrying a child after she gets out, or having a surrogate mother, etc. Lord knows she can afford all of that.

How is it harsh to point out that this child will grow up almost to their teens without a mother around? Apparently because the child's mother wants to have a child naturally?

Sorry, but having a kid under conditions that will be pretty harmful to the kid's development just because you want to have a kid is selfish at best.


>How is it harsh to point out that this child will grow up almost to their teens without a mother around?

In this particular case I think the absence of the mother is a net positive for the child. Would you want to have been raised by Elizabeth Holmes?


I think this is an unfair judgement. She may be an unethical person but we don't know if she is a bad/evil mom.


Parents must be above reproach.


Hardly unusual, half the kids I see could fit that description. Yet, here we are. Life finds a way.


That it's common does not make it right. We just hit the 8 billion mark, and unimaginable numbers of people across all social strata really don't do anything much but make each other miserable. Do they have the right to live and hope for happines? Definitely. Would it have been better if their parents had used that little miracle called "consciousness" to prevent their children's misery? Also yes.


>The baby would choose to be alive in any case

This struck a nerve.

Maybe you've never experienced what it's like to wish to have never been born, but having fucked up parents makes it very likely for a person to end in a situation where they feel like that about their lives. I think that if your child feels like that even once, you've been wrong to be a parent. (I realize that's a pretty high bar and it's unreasonable to expect the majority people to live up to it. But that goes for any moral standard.)

Of course anyone who is born chooses to stay alive, that's hard-wired into our biology, but that's exactly the reason you have no right to make this argument. Of course every human being has the right to parenthood, but this does not automatically make it right from the perspective of the child. I wish more people understood that and did not see their children as property.

Since we obviously can't ask our children whether they want to be born, it's our responsibility to make that decision for them. Primary caretakers determine the initial psychological makeup of a person, and the sad truth is that a lot of people from all walks of life have children because of irresponsibility, desperation, or plain egotistical reasons. This is cruel and abusive.

Best of wishes to the kid. I hope it grows up to be a happy person. Since it'll grow up in an affluent environment removed from the hardships that most of the world faces every day, there's a chance that happens. But evil people having kids is just cruel to the kids. I'd wager that once she's out of the slammer she'll endeavour to either raise it to be a psychopath, or make its life hell until she's eroded its grip on reality.

I hope in the future people get a better grip on the ethics of creating a new human being, and what you just said is understood for the fallacious reasoning that it is.


I think a good counter to "would choose to be alive" is "but would they choose to be born to different parents"?

Sure, you might say it wouldn't be the same child, but life is so chaotic that just from the random decisions you make, any potential child of yours changes wildly day-to-day anyway. That's a million potential children that would choose to be alive, in the time where you could have maybe one. So that's not enough justification. There are lots of good reasons to have children, but you need those reasons, not merely "would choose to be alive".


I've noticed that the same kind of person to make the "would choose to be alive argument" would also make the "but you can't choose your parents" argument. It's completely insane.


So, he should find a mistress and live with her for 18 years, then once kid moves out, back to Eliza?


Not, he shouldn't do that, specially when there are much better options.

Sometimes one of our parents is not good. It happens all the time. Millions of children have one parent in jail. Is not their faults and we should still support them. They became pretty decent and sane adults still somehow, with a few scars and own problems, as every one of us, but totally functional socially and morally. Charlize Theron would be a good example.

Men had proven many times that we can take care of the children in a single-parent family also. I don't think that the children of Rick Moranis grow in a hapless family, or became bad people, psychotic, or play the bass in Satan Moranis band now.


I didn't look carefully, but Holmes' defense sentencing memorandum doesn't appear to mention pregnancy at all. Let's be careful about not making things up to suit a narrative!


It wouldn't. There's a solid argument to be made the intention was to influence the jury in terms of conviction.

In any case deciding to start a family when you're even potentially looking at 15 years in prison is a terrible move for these children - absent mother, the lifelong psychological damage of knowing or suspecting the reason for your existence may have been an attempt to manipulate the justice system, etc.

There were financial losses in this case but at this point the most seriously impacted victims of Elizabeth Holmes are her own children.


Imagine you're a woman in your mid-thirties facing a decade or more in prison. You've always wanted children, but you thought there'd be time for that later. Now, though, if convicted, you'll probably never get the chance. What would you do?


If I were her I would freeze some eggs and/or adopt. I don't know what the adoption process looks like for convicted felons but she likely has the resources to pursue one or both of these paths.

She's very intelligent and very calculating - she had to have considered these options. Instead (I'm pretty convinced) she saw an opportunity - however remote - that she could walk away from this thing by getting at least one juror to be reluctant to send a new mother/pregnant woman to prison.

This is, after all, the person that in the face of failure after failure (at best) held out for 15 years on the very tiny chance her concept could eventually maybe just maybe be viable some day (at best). Instead of facing it she's now convicted of fraud and going to prison.

The entire Theranos story is long-shots and Hail Mary's. I truly believe these pregnancies were yet another long-shot with herself and only herself in mind. But in this case it's not the lives of strangers making medical decisions with her shoddy product at risk, it's a lifelong disadvantaged start for her own children.

She is the epitome of narcissism and demonstrates it over and over again. If I really were her I would hope to eventually have the realization that I have some serious personality issues to work on and absent substantial progress on them I probably shouldn't be having kids in the first place. Maybe 11 years in prison will do just that but unfortunately for these kids the damage is already done.


Freezing eggs is not some painless or certain process. She'd still have to wait until getting out of prison, at which point she'd be old enough that there's a significant chance that she wouldn't be able to conceive. She might be able to use surrogacy, but there are many issues with that (medical, but also legal and moral), and she'd be elderly by the time her children graduated from college.


Fair enough but there are consequences for your actions that shouldn't invoke kids growing up without a parent. I spent the first 10 years of my life like these kids will - without parents. Needless to say it's not great.

If IVF doesn't work out for whatever reason there's adoption. Let's try to remember this fraud could have very well ended up killing people. Not being able to have biological children and adopting is minor by comparison.

Her life expectancy should take her well into her 80s, and, at the risk of turning this into a "boo-hoo session" my dad died when I was 26 and he was 61. So even after all of this she'd likely see her kids get married, have children, etc which is more than some people who didn't commit fraud and gamble with people's lives get.


As someone raised by parents with mental problems, I also share your disgust here.

The children here having resources helps, but having a mom + dad is important and there's pretty much no way around that.

It being her "last chance" doesn't excuse the behavior.


First, I’m truly sorry for that.

Participation on this thread has been interesting - you’re the first person I’ve seen to also share your own experience with how this will impact these children.

We’re disgusted because we know.


Not be selfish.


I don't know what the hell you're talking about. The kid isn't going to be raised in prison like Megamind. Holmes has a big, well-to-do, supportive family. The kid will be fine. She'll be out when her kid is a 4th grader. She made a perfectly rational family planning decision. It is not the prerogative of the criminal justice system to make that decision for her.


A supportive family and affluence do not make up for the conditions these children have been born into. Their mother isn't around for the first 10 years of their lives. They'll live their entire lives wondering if they were born not because their mother wanted to have them and be present and participate in their lives, but because she (very likely) was doing anything she could to stay out of prison. It has a many years of therapy at least written all over it. These kids are just as much pawns and victims as everyone else seems to be in her life - and they'll likely know it.

She has the resources to freeze eggs and do surrogate birth at 50. Or a private adoption (I doubt official channels like convicted felons). There are plenty of better, less selfish options than the one she chose. I haven't seen anyone arguing for the justice system to prevent someone from becoming a parent. If she started a family at any point in the 20 years prior to being indicted or after release from prison I'd wish her and her family all the best.

Instead (and I really try not to be cynical) this was all almost certainly orchestrated in an attempt to garner sympathy. I have to imagine a non-zero portion of the potential jury pool would (all things being equal) have some potential reluctance in sending a new mother/currently pregnant person to prison because some wealthy people got ripped off. Obviously that's not the way it went.

I really respect you but I'm having a hard time seeing this as anything else and I think we need to have more compassion for her children. They may end up just fine but they're getting a rough start to say the least.

To be absolutely clear - this isn't about her. Enough has been about her. This is about the ends she has gone to in this entire situation and the effect it will almost certainly have on these kids who don't deserve any of this.


I don't know how you can make this argument persuasive without either writing fanfic or veering into misogyny. By all indications, the kid we're talking about is going to have a privileged childhood. The mom thing will be weird, but much less weird that a kid whose mom is convicted (even for a much shorter sentence) in the middle of their childhood. When you find yourself writing the words "she has the resources to freeze eggs and do surrogate birth at 50", you know you've gone way off the rails.

I barely remember anything about being a 4th grader, for what it's worth. Their mom will very much be in their life.


I do. I'm passionate about this because I grew up in somewhat similar circumstances (minus the criminality) - down to age. Upper middle class and not wanting for anything material but completely absent parents and Au Pairs caring for me 24/7 and rotating in and out yearly until I was 10 (by chance the same timeline here).

It took years of psychologists telling me countless times that this childhood experience was very damaging for me and to finally acknowledge the effects continue into my life 38 years later. Having children immediately before going to prison for 11 years is emotional neglect at minimum - those were the words used to describe my childhood. I am "fine" but I can't help but think I'd be better off emotionally if I actually knew my parents growing up. You might not remember anything about being a fourth grader but if you can't tell by now I certainly do. When your childhood is spent with other kids having parents and you don't you remember.

I don't appreciate being told I'm "off the rails" or misogynistic. This isn't fan fiction - it was my life. I can't believe I have to say this but if Sunny pulled this stunt I'd be going just as hard at him.

Again, I've always respected you and still do but respectfully - you have no idea what you're talking about on this one.


This. I grew up without a mother, and it casts a dark shadow that follows you your whole life, in ways I didn't even begin to understand until in my 30s. The damaging mental effects take a lot of work just to manage. It's tiring.

Check your "I have a mother" privilege. /s


I've had a vaguely similar upbringing; upper middle-class, hired carers, absent parents. I agree with you completely. I wasn't aware this wasn't healthy or normal until somebody pointed it out in my late 20s. It was traumatizing in its own way.


You are fully off the rails. You're writing fanfiction about these kids being neglected. There's no evidence to suggest they will be.


You clearly don’t care but I’m shocked and disappointed you’re doubling down on this. In all of my years of being on the internet this is the strangest hill to die on I’ve ever encountered. Not acknowledging any of the content and repeating the personal attack is another interesting touch.

Neglect (verb):

Fail to care for properly.

Neglect (noun):

The state or fact of being uncared for.

No one in prison is participating in the care of their children. She is and will be neglecting them.

Is the dictionary fanfiction too?


I feel for you. What do you think of Elon Musk and his many baby mamas? Why isn't the mainstream media critical?


You don't need to remember it for the events to be significant. I'm pretty sure kids have psychological/development needs as young as 4.

The kids will have $, but there's way more to being raised than your wealth resources. Is there a mass ignorance of this on HN? Yay for having more potential (affluent) sociopaths released on the world I guess?

It's gross to me.


The attitude on this here is pretty astounding to me. Do any of these people have children or know any? I'd wager to guess that most of the "these kids will be fine" responses are coming from people that don't - or if they do have kids, um, yikes. Thinking that the conditions of the first 10 years of someone's life doesn't have any impact on them is utterly bizarre. Her second child will likely be born in prison. Of course no one remembers their birth but I'd venture to guess overall that the outcomes of someone being born in prison are likely less positive than someone not. These kids don't have a great start on life.

+1 for your other point here - great, so now we have the next crop of wealthy and potentially powerful people who will likely have some issues because of these conditions. Just what the world needs more of.


To be clear, everything you're saying about her motivations is plausible. So is the alternative I raised. Neither of us actually knows. She herself may not know. People are messy like that.

The rest I disagree with, though. Kids are resilient and don't need to be shielded from life. Dad isn't going anywhere, for one thing, and they have the option of seeing Mom if the family wants to do it that way. They'll be fine.


As I've said elsewhere on HN I'm passionate about this because I didn't have parents the first 10 years of my life (see reply to tptacek below for details if you're curious). At least these kids will have a dad so that's a plus.

It bothers me for people who haven't experienced it to just say "oh they'll be fine". As I've said over and over again on this topic I'm "fine" but that needs to be quoted - I didn't want to acknowledge it for the longest time but it turns out those years can have a pretty significant impact on the rest of your life. My sister and I aren't "fine" the way most kids who grew up with their parents being at least somewhat around are fine.

Things happen - parents die, etc. What really boils my blood on this is she deliberately chose, for her own self interest, to put these kids on a similar path to the one I've lived. That's why I have such a visceral disgust for her and what she has done to these poor kids. I almost don't even care about the fraud and what she was convicted of but when those pregnancies happened my antennae went up.


It bothers me that you think other people haven't experienced it because they disagree with you, as if they couldn't possibly disagree otherwise. It doesn't really bother me of course, I'm just mirroring your phrasing; but it's wrong of you to think that.

I've seen too many of these kinds of discussions devolve into "my trauma can beat up your trauma", so won't offer my biography into evidence. Your experience is valid either way, and the details of mine aren't relevant other than to say there were no lasting effects.

No doubt some of how we turn out is the sculptor, and some is the clay.


I'm sorry you had a rough childhood, but zillions of happy children have been raised principally by extended family for... generations? centuries? millennia? Two of my best friends growing up had that family situation. Not to mention: these kids have a dad.

Neglect is very bad. But neglect presumes facts not in evidence. I understand where your "visceral disgust" is coming from, but you are projecting, and you need to find a way to stop.


Thank you, I appreciate that.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was “rough” but my sister and I have had some issues and needless to say the overwhelming opinion of mental health professionals we’ve both talked to is that our “unusual” childhoods are almost certainly a significant contributing factor to some of the lifelong struggles we’ve both had.

I responded elsewhere but being in prison with no ability to care for your children matches the literal dictionary definition of neglect. When the word neglect was first used to describe my childhood I dismissed it too. I mean, it’s not like I was going to school without shoes on, right?

Well it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Interesting you bring up projection - you are opining on a situation which you’ve made clear you have no knowledge or experience of. From what I’ve gathered you likely had a more stable and closer to “traditional” (whatever that means) childhood. That’s great but for you to say “I don’t even remember anything from fourth grade” because of your experience and graft it on to people that have or will have a dramatically different experience is pretty incredible and shows a real lack of empathy and compassion. To borrow from you, you need to find a way to stop.

Taking my personal experience out - do you truly and honestly believe that a (child) psychologist would look at this situation and say with the wave of a hand “Oh it’s fine, they’ll be fine”?

If you really do then unfortunately there’s just no point in continuing this discussion.


Well said.


I always find these arguments confusing.

If you (in the future) ask these children I'm pretty darn sure that they would disagree that they would have been better off not existing.

But I guess that doesn't count because.. they're biased in favor of their own existence?

I'm only 30% trying to be sarcastic, and mostly trying to see if this kind of argument makes any kind of sense.


She has the resources to (as one path) freeze eggs and have a surrogate when she gets out. Same kids, same existence only now they have a mother present for the first 10 years of their lives and they don't have to live wondering if their original purpose was a desperate attempt to keep their mother out of prison.

Or there's adoption of any number of real non-hypothetical already born children that will be around when she gets out at 50.


I once saw a Facebook group with the cutesy name "life is a stockholm syndrome and I want my money back". That's spot on.

Happiness is preferable to suffering.

Suffering is a natural part of life. So is happiness.

Suffering is inevitable. Happiness is not.

For some people the happiness outweights the suffering.

It's not a given and you can't really know in advance, but I'm pretty damn sure that having a narcissistic psychopath for a mother tips the scale towards suffering.

Sometimes the happiness outweighs the suffering by such a large margin that you can't even imagine that for others it's the other way around. Maybe you become one of those people who put other people in literal cages "for their own good" - you can get involuntarily hospitalized for expressing doubts in the value of your own life, you know. Even if you're right. Especially if you can prove it.

So that biases the answer you'll get, on top of the natural bias towards self-preservation and reproduction. It still doesn't make it anywhere near truthful.

Ever look up the origins of the word "proletariat"? It literally means "breeders". It's the people who own nothing but their own lives, have no capital other than their time and body. We're selling our lives to the highest bidder out here, man. We're cattle.

Would you teach your kid to be aware of that predicament? No, you would teach them to avoid the subject entirely. For their own good, you see.

Many people are forced to be alive, and just rationalize around that to make the process of staying alive comparatively easier. You can probably imagine what reasoning around such traumatic cognitive dissonance for the sake of sheer self-preservation does to your overall cognitive abilities, and by extension to your ability to make the world a better place so people honestly want to stay in it.


Perhaps she just wanted kids, and figured bringing them up while in prison was a better option than waiting another 10-50 years until she got out.


yeah...and what this woman "just wants" has mostly been a disaster for society


And even if true, can you imagine telling someone to their face, "You shouldn't exist so your mom could have gotten a harsher prison sentence"?


It's not about people not wanting the kid to be born though because it prevented harshed sentencing though - it's about the mother possibly wanting to have it for the same reason.


Except now they will be bullied with “you only exist because so your mom could have gotten a lighter prison sentence”


Well, of course it wouldn't mention it. But you can take things into consideration when sentencing, even when they're not stated: they can still affect how you set the penalties and what you chose to include or not.


Why would economic losses be the primary rubric? She was selling a fraudulent medical diagnostic that people were literally using to make life or death decisions.


No. That was the ultimate plan but it never really got to that point.


It did get to that and in many cases she sent fake and inaccurate results to people receiving these blood tests.


In that same thread checkyoursudo called the sentence exactly too https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29796629

We'll have to check back in 9.35 years to see if that part is accurate


I will set a timer.

I used to be a pretty damned good lawyer (if I do say so myself), but I never practiced federal criminal law, so I have to admit that was pure gut feeling and general lawyerly instincts. :)


Yep! A better call than mine. :)

I mean, the 9 served thing is a little easy, since it follows mechanically from the actual sentence (also, it'll be 10 served, not 9).


My calculation is 135/12 *(1-54/365)

= 9.6 years (based on 54 days per year off for good behaviour)


> By the numbers, the court was probably quite lenient here.

This former federal prosecutor does not think so:

> Anyone who claims Holmes received more or less than what she was “supposed to get” does not understand federal sentencing. I served for almost seven years as a federal prosecutor, led dozens of sentencings and co-authored a nationwide guide to prosecutors on the topic, and I couldn’t predict with any confidence what sentence Holmes would receive.

> Indeed, 10 different federal judges would have likely imposed 10 different sentences on Holmes. That’s both a function of the general process and of Holmes’ particular case. She didn’t face a mandatory minimum sentence (meaning the judge was not required to impose a prison term), while her maximum sentence under the relevant statutes for her offense was 80 years (20 years for each of the four wire fraud counts of conviction).

[...]

> Common sense and a dose of perspective show that Holmes shouldn’t spend more than a decade in prison, let alone 15 years. [...] In other words, her crime was serious, but prosecutors can point to no dead body or even serious bodily injury, though the risk was real. [...] At this point the overriding question should be about the prospect of rehabilitation. Holmes can be a productive member of society. The judge, while not sentencing her to as much prison time as he could have, should have shown more leniency.

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/elizabeth-holmes-sente...


> In other words, her crime was serious, but prosecutors can point to no dead body or even serious bodily injury, though the risk was real.

This seems a bit weird to me.

If one engages in behavior that creates real bodily risk for people, that ought to be the crime. The probability of injury that was created, not the outcome. If it just so happens that the dice landed in a way that didn’t harm anyone, that doesn’t tell us anything about her intention, how dangerous it is to have her out in society.

Especially for white collar crimes, where the execution of the risk is often set up in such a manner that the perpetrator isn’t there for the injury. If somebody breaks into a gas station and tries to rob the place with a weapon, but at the critical moment doesn’t actually hurt anyone, that’s still obviously very serious, but we can infer that they have some little bit of conscience that spoke up when it was most needed. Not so for the person who set up a dangerous abstract process that just happened to not hurt anyone by coincidence.


> no dead body

Ian Gibbons


I pretty strongly disagree with that prosecutor, no matter his experience. The fact that someone like Holmes “can be a productive member of society” just because she’s white, comes from a middle class family, and there’s no body does not compute. Holmes is very clearly a sociopath. And maybe I have missed something, but I have never seen anything close to remorse or admission of guilt from her. She even still claims her deep voice is her real voice, when there’s evidence and testimony to the contrary. There’s something really wrong there.

White collar crime should be punished to the utmost degree. These are usually people that had everything given to them to live a legitimate, educated, and safe life, and they blew it all due to greed and ego. Most non- “white collar” criminals didn’t have that chance to start with. And white collar crime usually affects a multitude of people over periods of years. It’s not like most other crimes that happen on much smaller timescales with a lot more emotion involved. White collar crime usually means someone is waking up every day for years saying “yep, I’m still gonna keep doing this”.


She just happened to piss off important people, like the grandson of George Schultz who was working for her, that called his buddy in WSJ. What she did (fake it till you make it) is very common, but she didn't understand the flip side of having real American establishment on her board- she myopically only saw the upside, like an entrepreneur probably should .


I cant figure out why this comment is so heavily downvoted. Its neither reactive nor innacurate. Can someone elaborate?


It seems to excuses her fraud in a roundabout way.

She's not just a random entreprenuer. Medical startups need to be held to a higher standard than average tech companies and the punishment for fraud that puts patients at risk should be as harsh as possible.


Fraud == Fraud Medical or otherwise. Hold everyone to the same standards.


I disagree. Fraud in popcorn production != Fraud in heart pacemakers.


It's a little surprising you can get 11 years for "misleading professional investors".


When she was first convicted in, I actually figured the sentencing guidelines dictated life-in-prison, my math was:

- wire fraud (3 counts): 7

- victims (10+): 2

- damages ($140M): 24 (!!)

- sophisticated means: 2

- leading role: 4

- abuse of public trust: 2

- obstruction of justice: 2

TOTAL: 43

And here's[1] the chart. Even for first time offenders, penalty can be life.

[1] https://supernotes-resources.s3.amazonaws.com/direct-uploads...


Criminal sentences for first time offenders very rarely follow the sentencing guidelines, and in some ways you can consider them to be a starting point for negotiation. When I was a prosecutor, fully 90%+ of the ~750 cases I handled in the 18 months I was there were guilty pleas of some sort. Pleading a 2 year case down to probation was a daily occurrence. (Note that I worked at the state level, not federally.) The machine is lubricated for quick settlement.

Mandatory minimums are obviously a different story.


Sentencing is weird.

If someone told me I was going to jail for a a week, it would be bad.

I’d someone told me I was having a week added to my 10 year sentence, I’m not sure if care that much.


Impressive application of the sentencing guidelines. But I can’t help but view this as barbaric. A society shouldn’t put mothers of young children in prison.


So mothers should be able to commit crimes without having to worry about the consequence of going to prison? That doesn’t sound right…


That’s the same reaction EH hoped the judge/jury would have


I don't believe you actually believe this.


Just to give an alternative opinion:

This appears to be a very ruthless hatchet job. It appears the elites set a trap and imploded her company. It appears her chief scientist Ian Gibbons was poisoned. The media said he died of suicide by tylenol poisoning. Very odd because that’s the worst way to go and Ian was a distinguished engineer and scientist who had his choice of where he wanted to work.

No one wants to talk about the board of directors either, given that these people were so well known and influential this seems… odd.

All her patents were gobbled up by the investors and her company imploded right before covid19 hit.

Even if her machines were only half functioning it would have been nice to have them on every walgreens and walmart in the age of a pandemic.

I feel very sorry for her. I’m probably the only one who thinks she’s a victim here. She tried to make the world a better place and give you access to your own health information. And because she made so mis statements that is typical of a “fake it till you make it” she now has to rot in prison and her children have to go without a mother.

I find this absolutely disgraceful. She would not have been so hyped if it weren’t for the media. They will of course never face any consequences. They get off scott free to pump and dump the next victim.

When do we break this cycle?


If we're talking about financial damage done this sentencing still feels exceedingly light. We have a real double standard - there are people in jail for longer for possession.

Edit to clarify: My statement is more intended to emphasize how overly punishing possession charges rather than to advocate for draconian charges for all offenses.


11 years is a heavy sentence. The sentences for possession are what are wrong.


Between you and the very similar sibling comment from micromacrofoot I've edited my original statement. I completely agree with what you both are saying and wanted to clarify that I was highlighting the contrast between these sentences not advocating for draconian prison sentences for everyone.


Honestly, I don't see how an 11-year sentence would have much more of a deterrent effect on others than, say, a 3-year one. She doesn't seem likely to reoffend, and it's not like her time in jail will pay back the people she defrauded.

It seems like this sentence (like many others in our judicial system) is based more on retribution than anything else.


> She doesn't seem likely to reoffend

Oh yes she does. You think she's going to be happy at a menial job? No, she'll be right back with a new con the moment she's back on the street. Only now her name recognition will make the con harder.


What do you base this on? Gut feelings or is there actual evidence?


My Google-fu is not working well with recidivism this morning, but there does seem to be some evidence it's true, e.g.:

Offenders who committed a crime of dishonesty had the highest reconviction rate (45.6%)

https://www.lawscot.org.uk/news-and-events/legal-news/reconv...


She doesn't appear to feel that she did anything wrong originally, and by implication will feel like she's a victim of injustice, so, very likely to reoffend.


She hurt money, especially of super wealthy people, and in this country, that is the biggest crime.

Furthermore, enhancing someone's sentence to scare the next person is not justice. That's sacrificial and gross.


Are you arguing against the whole idea of deterrence?


You wrote a silly comment, the normal punishment is a downvote, but as we want to deter others from doing so we will execute you.


To me at least. Risking a 3-year sentence to get a billion dollars might be worth it (assuming that I'm not morally objected to the "crime" in question), but 10 years feels a bit much.


It's not even the risk. Depending on the day you ask me, If I was given the option of living as a billionaire for several years and then spending several years in prison, I might just take it.

Though I suppose I personally would prefer the prison time first and the billionaire thing after (like in Chekhov's "The Bet"). In any case, I'm sure that there's a big fraction of humanity who would jump at the chance.


Deterance is the outcome the courts were hoping for here.


Prison is for punishment. Not everyone believes in the "turn the other cheek" nonsense. She has harmed a lot of people and should be punished for it.


The length of prison time seems to me to have multiple aspects to them beyond just rehabilitation or retribution. Often it seems like the purpose is to send signals in order to set social norms, to discourage future criminals, to remove threats, and fairness when compared to worse or lesser crimes. People often debate the rehabilitation vs retribution aspect, but I rarely see people discuss the others.


She’ll only do half though right? So is it really that severe.


If I understand correctly, this was in federal court and they don’t do early release.


A federal 10 year sentence is a very severe punishment. There's virtually no parole federally; once you're in, you're in.


If her stay in “the Feds” is anything like the experiences I’ve heard of from people who are not her gender nor her race, it’s quite possible that she’ll be giving lectures in the Metaverse by 2026.


This is completely wrong. Prisoners in the federal prison system must serve at least 90% of their sentence. Holmes will not be getting out -- or have unfettered internet access -- anytime before late 2032 at the soonest.


Define “unfettered” in this context. And I wasn’t implying that she’d be free.


Access to an email-like system for a per-minute fee. No other internet access.

See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrlinks


There are. Cell phones. In. Prisons. People who have never even seen a fraction of the wealth that Elizabeth Holmes defrauded people out of are able to get them. She can very well wind up on a Web3 social platform anonymously by 2027, trading crypto while funding SciHub.


"unfettered" != "potentially available if you're willing to break the law"


Pretty much single person there was willing to break the law, by definition.

So if going down the slightly-less-legal route, the below story was pretty neat. A hacked together prison computer, network attached.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/04/inmates-built-co...


I am sure there are further carrots and sticks inside the prison, and of course 11 years is not life so she isn’t immune to extra punishment for more crimes.


We are talking about the penitentiary here, chap.


I think it's possible someone gets her a phone. But she can't get away with streaming or even posting selfies. She'd have to stick with texting or using pseudonyms.


From my friend who was in: they get some daily time, and all their email is monitored. I could send him mail, but it was through the prison's website, not a regular email.

I imagine the web surfing they can do is fairly limited, but I didn't ask.

I also found out that you can buy anything in prison, including a cell phone, or drugs. Ratting out the people who actually sell the stuff is a great way to get yourself killed.


Holmes is not getting sent to any of the prisons featured on OITNB.


That video says probably Dublin, CA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFFxLwvGLhU


I'm a native English speaker and I'm having trouble parsing this. Could you clarify?


From what I’ve been told, compared to the State penitentiaries, the Feds is relatively easy. Using this is a reference, for a person like Elizabeth Holmes, I reckon that 11 years will not be as punishing as the person I am responding to imagines. If anything, at some point, she may be given access (either legally or illegally) to a smartphone device that will enable her to interact with the outside world (as is very common in prison, the phones aren’t cheap but I don’t think she’d have trouble getting a hold of one).


> From what I’ve been told, compared to the State penitentiaries, the Feds is relatively easy.

I mean, "relatively easy" doesn't mean it's a cake walk, especially since in the US many State systems are barbarically abusive. She will be in prison with an extremely regimented schedule, being told exactly what to do.

Correct, she's probably not going to need to join a gang for protection, but it is still nearly 10 years in lockup assuming she gets maximum good behavior credits.


Yes 11 years of your life is 11 years of your life, but in reality a woman like her, with her (deviated) skill set and profile, can easily handle it in a manner that will convince the average person that she got off lightly. People who are less educated and have less influence are capable of pulling off what I’ve been describing (getting a cellphone and going on Facebook/Meta) while in Federal prison.


It will be far less regimented than lets say, joining the army. Up at 5AM, stand for the count. Report to prison job for a couple of hours a day. 5pm, in your cell, standing for the count. Lights out at 10pm. You can exercise, go to the library, watch TV, play cards, whatever is available during most of the day.


I reckon you might be spitballing to an unnecessary degree about the phone. Cell phone possession is a federal crime, and if she gets ahold of an illegal one that isn't a factor of federal prison being a cakewalk, they proliferate in high security state prisons, either way it's going up someone's ass. She won't be giving zoom lectures on it though. I doubt it's something she will get involved with much, planning on use of one to make your decade easier is a good way to spend a a lot of the time in solitary confinement with privileges removed and maybe get time added.

That said, you are correct she probably will be going to a fairly cruisy minimum or low security prison. Due to the nature of federal crimes, with a heavy bimodal distribution of severity (i.e., financial/bank/tax fraud... or murdering a judge or during a bank robbery) you can end up in a very gnarly place or a 'Club Fed'. She will get to play volleyball and do watercolouring, maybe even swimming or roller skating, and there may not be a fence, but she's still getting locked in her cell in evenings, will have to do whatever job she's assigned to, will be around at least a few hardened exploitative types and wont be going anywhere for most of a decade at least.


Yes absolutely I am spitballing (according to iOS dictionary it’s an informal suggestion of a scenario). The scenarios that I’m describing are just vehicles to describe essentially what you’re saying in the second paragraph. But as absurd as things are in the world, just don’t take the possibility for granted if she can pull it off.

She may not be hardened, but she’s proven to be exploitative. And with her education and experience, is possibly as great a threat to her peers as anyone else with a more violent rap sheet.


You've got a great point that she has proven to have a skill for social manipulation, I wonder to what degree that was specific to convincing old powerful men to invest and projecting the 'Steve Jobs' mysterious tech guru image in public — It would be interesting to see how her charms work in a women's prison. Like, she did it for years during public appearances and at work, but will she keep using the fake baritone, around the clock, for ten years?

It would make a great movie, like a better reprise of "Shot Caller" feat. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.


It is generally true that Federal prisons are less unpleasant than state prisons. Federal prisons have people convicted of things like interstate wire fraud. State prisons have most of the rapists and murderers, as these are rarely Federal crimes.


> Federal prisons have people convicted of things like interstate wire fraud.

https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_offen...

Half are in for drugs, one fifth due to Weapons, Explosives, Arson and one in ten because of sex offenses.


These ratios are still much better than state prisons. I have visited both kinds.


No such thing as legal smartphone in federal prison. Also remember she's not going to be rich anymore.


She's very rich by normal person standards - her husband is a millionaire. Her family is also quite wealthy/well connected (she was childhood friends with Tim Draper's daughter, that's how he became the first Theranos investor).


For some weird reason people love giving people they perceive as rich (even if they have no money anymore - even if they famously lost it) lots of money for nothing.


Several Maryland jails have tablets for inmates. Complete with video calling, messaging (monitored email and SMS), IHeartRadio, Pluto, Tubia, Coursera, Khan Academy and a bunch of games.

These are state and county institutions, not federal. So I can only imagine what's up at the Feds.


> No such thing as legal smartphone

what does "legal" have to do with it?

They have "currency" in prison (cigarettes or something), but it's hard to translate your actual money into that currency. Your visitors can't just bring you a whole bunch of cigarettes on visiting day.


Things like cellphones are typically smuggled in via guards, for actual real money (either by inmates in possession of cash or paid from by someone outside of the prison environment). "Prison currency" tends to be valued at a fraction of its real value (so a $200 cellphone may end up costing $1000 once all of the middlemen are involved)


So illegal smartphone it is.

What cryptopunk sucker for love wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to help get her a phone? It simply isn’t that far fetched.


However, the Presidential pardon is available for federal convictions.

Conveniently:

Vice President (at the time) Biden, knew Elizabeth and even visited Theranos.

Elizabeth Holmes held fundraisers for Hillary Clinton with Chelsea Clinton.

Just recently, a prominent Democrat Senator was asking for leniency on her sentencing.

I would be supremely surprised if she is not pardoned before the end of Biden's term(s).


I'd honestly be shocked if Biden pardoned her. She's a household name at this point and everyone knows she's a con artist and a fraud. Biden gains very little by pardoning her and the media would have a field day going after him if he does. It would hurt the entire Democratic party if he pardoned Holmes.

The only way I see him pardoning her is if he loses the 2024 election and has some sort of fall out with the Democratic party that causes him to go scorched earth, and I don't both of those happening.


Why not all sorts of rich scoundrels get pardoned once a president leaves


Because she's a household name.

"President pardons Elizabeth Holmes" and "President pardons Sholam Weiss" are very different headlines.

Only one of those will draw public outrage, despite the fact that Elizabeth Holmes was sentences to 11 years and Weiss was sentenced to 845 years. I'm fairly certain that no one would care about the second headline because Trump pardoned Weiss a few years ago and no one said shit.


Googling it, Sholam Weiss served 20+ years of a 825 year!! sentence for a fraud that sounds comparable to Holmes'. He died two months after release too from a stroke


He's still alive. What Weiss did was arguably a lot worse than what Holmes did. Him and his friends basically stole half a billion dollars from an insurance company in what was at the time one of the largest corporate frauds ever. I think the state government and some other insurance companies had to basically bail them out in order to make the customers whole. Then he went on the run for 3 years until he was caught. He was living a life of luxury etc all stuff Holmes was never accused of. The only thing that's similar between them is that the loss amount was high. Though he did actually pay most of the restitution he was ordered, whereas Holmes will probably end up paying nothing.


11+ years in jail for possession is vanishingly rare. The median time served is 1 year for possession.

The average time served for murder in the US is about 13 years - just a bit longer than Holmes’ sentence.

https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/tssp16.pdf


Does that take into account three strike rules? I'd be curious how many simple possessions turned into decades.


People do not serve that long of sentences for mere possession. That's an exaggeration. I want legalization, but for mere possession you do not get that type of sentence. If someone is serving that for possession, it's one of many charges, a repeat offender attached to a bigger crime, or possession of a very large amount (into the pounds). I think most cases you hear about are someone that had a felony before (such as burglary) and then was caught with possession later on. It's not right, it shouldn't happen...but that's not -just- possession.


Having a gun while being arrested with possession will get you that kind of sentence. Or at least, the authorities claim that to get a plea deal. Here's a firefighter who had a gun, was arrested for possession, and accepted a plea deal for 3 years in prison:

> "The only reason that he plead guilty is because the culture in office and it threatened Mr. Wilson with mandatory sentences that were more than 10 years," said Descano.

Kalief Browder was imprisoned for three years without trial on the accusation that he stole a backpack[2]. After three years, a judge told him he could plead guilty and walk free, or go to trial and risk being imprisoned for 15 years.

I get the feeling authorities lie a lot to get someone to plead guilty. It seems like over 90% of cases in the U.S. end in a plea deal. Everyone agrees that threatening to break someone's leg to force a confession is a gross violation of justice, but somehow it's fine to threaten to take away decades of their life to force them to confess.

[1] https://www.fox5dc.com/news/dc-firefighter-to-be-released-fr... [2] https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/06/before-the-law


Yes, illegal guns are a big deal in mid-atlantic policing at least.

That Kalief Browder case you linked is a travesty of justice. 3 years before trial is absurd.

Neither of these are federal cases.


https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/tssp18.pdf

Checks out.

It's pretty insane to me still spending a year in prison for possession. Since I come from a country where possession has always be decriminalized, just thinking that some of my behavior could land me in jail is mind bending.


Can you share a citation for your claims? They're completely counter to what I've heard, and even seen firsthand. If anything, I would bet there are people who got busted for simple possession and then had fake charges tacked on to increase their punishment.


Not for sentencing timelines, but virtually nobody (less than 0.5% of all drug offenders) doing federal prison for drugs is in there for mere possession. [0]

[0]: https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/dofp12_sum.pdf


The feds aren't going to get you for possession. That's more of a state level thing. If the feds are getting you for drugs it's because you had massive amounts, or crossed state lines with them. Ironically and sort of counter to your citation, simply possessing drugs while crossing state borders is considered trafficking.


Also, in many cases there are X crimes, including possession, and the plea is to take guilty on possession and not get charged with the others.


Also: IIRC, a fair number of the people with long sentences for (say) drug possession are there as part of a plea deal which allowed them to avoid more serious charges. If we legalized drug possession, they would still have gone to jail, just on a different set of charges.


The possession charges are part of a concerted effort beginning in the 1980s "war on drugs" to provide reliable income for the budding private prison industry. It was a hugely successful campaign that has done irreperable damage to the US at the individual level as well as the broad public/financial level.

Poor people cannot afford to defend themselves, so they make easy targets for incarceration.

Wealthy or connected people take much more time and effort to imprison, so the risk vs reward for prosecutors is just not worth it in most cases. You have to _really_ piss off or embarrass a lot of powerful people to get taken down like this current case.


>The possession charges are part of a concerted effort beginning in the 1980s "war on drugs" to provide reliable income for the budding private prison industry.

Source? I checked wikipedia and it suggests that it was the other way around. The article on war on drugs also doesn't show much developments around the 80s. Most of the changes were in the 70s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_prison#Development_2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_drugs#20th_century


> The article on war on drugs also doesn't show much developments around the 80s

I can’t speak to the private prison stuff, but having grown up in the 80s in the US, I can tell you that the Wikipedia article is not complete for the 80s.

There was an enormous anti drug push at the time, culminating in 1989. It was everywhere in the culture that I experienced. Maybe a backlash to the popularity of cocaine at the time, I don’t know.

We even had video games displaying “say no to drugs” in attract mode

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winners_Don%27t_Use_Drugs


>I can’t speak to the private prison stuff, but having grown up in the 80s in the US, I can tell you that the Wikipedia article is not complete for the 80s.

>There was an enormous anti drug push at the time, culminating in 1989. It was everywhere in the culture that I experienced. Maybe a backlash to the popularity of cocaine at the time, I don’t know.

Maybe that's just biased by your memories? If you came of age in the 80s, you're obviously not going to remember all the anti-drug/tough on crime stuff that happened in the 70s. Note that just because that there weren't many developments in the 80s, doesn't mean that they weren't doing anti-drug programs in your school. It just means that the relevant policies were already enacted.

The wikipedia article for "tough on crime" also shows a similar timeline. Crime became a political issue well before the 80s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_and_order


Aside from the massive prison population growth during the Reagan years (for drug and minor offenses), it was the Just Say No campaign which was _everywhere_ during the 80s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_Say_No

As far as I know, none of the first ladies from Nixon, Ford, or Carter were on TV regularly talking about drugs.

Edit - added: The Clinton years saw even greater rate of increase in prison population, and for most of the same reasons.


https://drugpolicy.org/blog/nancy-reagans-role-disastrous-wa...

"Reagan's presidency marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law violations increased from 50,000 in 1980 to more than 400,000 by 1997."

Indeed the "drug war" began before the private prison industry, but it has directly and indirectly influenced drug policy to protect and expand its business. https://justicepolicy.org/research/gaming-the-system-how-the...


Nothing here sounds "the other way around" except them getting the decade wrong.


Considering that they're making a casual claim (ie. A caused B), it's a huge blow if the timing was reversed (B happened before A).


And there are people in prison doing less time for murder.

We fail to reflect that 11 years in prison is a really long and miserable time.


Virtually all of them are convicted in state courts and under state sentencing systems. Most states have mandatory minimums for 1st degree murder, and those minimums are much higher than Holmes' sentence; second-degree murder usually admits a huge range of sentences, which captures the variety of circumstances that might attend an unplanned killing.


"Virtually" - is murder even a federal crime in the United States?


> "Virtually" - is murder even a federal crime in the United States?

Yes, but the general federal murder law (18 USC § 1111) only applies in the “special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States”.

A lot of federal felonies have, in place of a general federal felony murder rule, a distinct crime or enhanced punishment when death is involved and deliberately killing certain federal officials is also a federal crime.


Yes, it is. For instance, if you deliberately murder a senator. 18 USC 111.

I think a bunch of different kinds of federal crimes (like major drug crimes) will also port their accompanying murder charges to federal court.


Many things can move murder to federal court (hence, "make a federal case of it") including crossing state lines and various other federal offenses.


> And there are people in prison doing less time for murder.

Especially if it's perpetrated with a car.


I don't think this is light at all. 10 years in prison is no joke. I actually thought she would only get 3-4 years.


Yeah I didn't think a day over 3 years.


I'm on record for "18 months" and that error is costing me $10. But it's to a good cause.


Seems excessive to me. I don't really care about people conning rich people into parting with their money, especially when they don't bother to do basic due diligence before hand.


IMO the reason Holmes deserves to be locked up for a long time is not just because of the fraud she committed, but the way she tried to use her power and her powerful friends to destroy people whose only crime was telling the truth.

Seriously, read Bad Blood, see what she tried to do to Tyler Schultz, Erika Cheung, and Rochelle Gibbons (the widow of the Theranos scientist that committed suicide), among many others. The best analogy I can think of is Lance Armstrong's fraud. Yes, his cheating and lying about it was bad, but I guess at least somewhat understandable given the culture of cycling at the time. But the reason I despise the man is due to his mafioso tactics of intimidation he used to silence people. Holmes did the exact same.


Let’s put things in perspective.

A typical median families income was approx. $70k in 2021. That covers multiple people, and in general across the US is enough to pay for housing, schooling, medical care, etc.

A lifetime of that (inflation adjusted) is usually enough for someone to retire somewhere.

If you take the 48 years from 18 to social security retirement age of 66, that would make a median lifetimes earnings $3,360,000 in 2021 dollars.

Holmes got nearly $1bln from investors in the Theranos mess, which is 297 lifetimes worth of median earnings, which considering that directly maps to someone (or multiple someones) working hard for that time, can be consider ‘life’s works’.

She was convicted of fraud on at least $140 million of wire transfers out of that, or ‘only’ 41 life’s works.

While 11 years is a long time, the destruction of value done is nothing to scoff at.

With decent leadership, 300 people working for their entire lives could accomplish a lot of great things.

Of course, it could also be blown on crypto scams and lambos. It’s not a perfect comparison.


Ah, someone else is a student of Mr Pump.

However, there's a consideration - if I somehow steal $1m from Elon, it materially doesn't affect him that much at all. But if I steal $5k from a McDonald's employee, it could ruin them.


What’s that old saw?

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal loaves of bread.” -Anatole France


I dont think that is the right way to look at it.

She didn't incinerate the money, she spent it, it went somewhere else. It went to workers and other companies.

Now maybe that money could have been spent to commission 300 workers to make great things. Maybe it would have gone to pump up the S&P 500 or some shitcoin.

The problem is that she used false pretexts to get and spend the money.


The ‘life’s work’ metric doesn’t say it’s wasted - it ends up folks pockets, of course, eventually. And some of that will of course also go into things which are more than ‘just’ living.

It’s what it was directed to accomplish, and if that activity produced something of equivalent value (or more) on it’s journey to that state, or dissipated into heat and noise.

Near as I can tell, Theranos was at least 99% heat and noise.


> Holmes got nearly $1bln from investors in the Theranos mess, which is 297 lifetimes worth of median earnings

Where did the money go? Has any been recovered?


If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a noise?

Or in other words, if a rich person is defrauded and they still have enough money to live a life of lavish luxury, was a crime still committed?


Stealing capital that could have been allocated towards more productive medical enterprise hurts everyone, not just rich people.

Penalties for misrepresenting your company help ensure that society devotes resources towards actually good ideas.


Eh, you would have to prove that the capital would have been allocated to something more useful in the absence of Theranos to prove that that hurts anyone. Most of her investors were not in the medical field, which is part of the reason they never realized she was selling snake oil.

> Penalties for misrepresenting your company help ensure that society devotes resources towards actually good ideas.

I agree with this in theory but I think fines and a ban from working in certain industries or founding companies is probably enough, not a decade in prison.


If it’s not possible to catch these scams in advance, what other chilling effect is going to reduce the quantity of others taking billions of dollars while lying through their teeth?

Near as I can tell, a decade is light


Even if their backup was to invest in medical index funds of some sort, this would have been a better usage.

I don't think it was common knowledge that theranos was a scam in the medical industry until relatively late.


I guess it depends on how many little people get fired due to the financial underperformance?


It wasn’t just rich people. What about the patients that were lied to? The employees?


She didn’t get charged or convicted for that as far as I am aware


Charged, tried and not guilty.

"Holmes was acquitted on three charges relating to patients who received inaccurate test results but found guilty on four charges, including one count of conspiracy to defraud investors and three counts of wire fraud against investors."


Seems not enough - "misdiagnosis" / fake results also fucked over average joe.


I would agree. 11 years seems light for something of this magnitude, even if you don't consider possession sentences.


I'm curious on this one, obviously a technical breakdown of how sentencing is applied in cases like this has been posted elsewhere in this thread, based on past (offence) history, non/mitigating circumstances, magnitude of the offence and presumably offset by how you plead etc. So this is the disincentive side to future criminals and this would seem to be an area of fraud (high-stakes) where you stand a (very) high-chance of getting caught, unlike a lot of other fraud where this doesn't appear to be the case [citation needed].

But on the other side, what are the incentives (to future criminals) to try pull off fraud of this magnitude. There's obviously various psychological effects playing out here (as well as circumstantial ones, great idea goes pear-shaped but it's seemingly too late to pull-out due to ego/sunkcost/other fallacies/last minute save).

But has anyone attempted a game-theoretic payoff matrix, I'm just wondering in the wider scheme of things (to loop back in the post I'm replying to about 11years feeling light) will this kind of sentence actually deter any future similar cases from happening or are the payoff's (financial or otherwise) just too high for this to apply any real deterrent threat to those who are likely to be in the position to be influenced by it?

So in reality, actually this is just really a punishment?


It is hard to compare financial damage to other types of crimes. They are inherently apples and oranges.

That is to say, there is no quantitative to compare harm from billions of fraud to getting kids hooked on crack.


I mean, you could be the Sacklers and do both?


Yea but crime is a lot like a game of hearts - if you shoot the moon then you're not punished at all.


The problem is there is a quantitative to compare the punishments for each crime. As such we cannot just throw our hands up and say they are incomparable, we have to compare them to the best of our ability.


why exactly do we have to compare them?

The relevant question is does the punishment fit the crime.

How the punishment stacks up against other crimes and punishments doesn't matter.


> If we're talking about financial damage done this sentencing still feels exceedingly light.

They gave her a sentence that's a little below the federal sentencing guidelines but not by a huge amount.


This is the right sentiment, but maybe a little backwards, people shouldn't be in jail for possession.


Federal guidlines on simple posession aren't in the same order of magnitude as 10 years.


People get less for murder and rape at the state level all the time.


There has been a grand total of 0 people sentenced to more than 11 years for sole possession.

It would be good to stop pushing this kind of misinformation (yeah I know war on drug bad)


This is absolutely false


And am I also understanding correct that this is for fraud of the investors. But that fraud of the patients getting wrong results was ok and not punished?

Aka don't mess with rich people.


Should either be in jail at all? They aren't a physical threat and anything Elizabeth does now will be watched like a hawk.

Same with SBF.

Just garnish their income for life or until they make their victims whole.


This stance is absolutely baffling to me. Just goes to show how our attitudes towards white collar crime (which is orders of magnitude more lucrative than most petty crime) are grossly out of proportion to the harm they cause compared to, say, a car thief.


It's about reoffense, so it's specific to the type. Elizabeth Holmes and SBF needed people to give them a lot of money. They won't be able to do that again without some serious redemption arc.

Also their activity would be watched closely and income garnished.


> aren't a physical threat and anything Elizabeth does now will be watched like a hawk

Wasn't she trying to raise money for a start-up while on trial?

> Same with SBF

Isn't he trying to raise money right now?


The punishment is only partially about Holmes, and largely about the message it sends to the potential future Holmeses of the world.


There has to be some punishment. If I steal $100 from you and the risk is I get caught and all I would have to do is give it back then there would be a lot more white collar crime.


Exactly - taking away freedom is really the only penalty you can apply to white collar crime, or the risk/reward would be grossly in favor of committing the crime - even income garnishments can't push you to absolute zero.


Before modern bankruptcy laws, it was common for people who owe a lot of money to go to debtor's prison (and this still happens in some parts of the world with more archaic legal systems). At a glance it may seem contradictory since locking someone up would probably preclude any chance the debtor might have to make money towards the debt but the optics of getting punished for wrongdoing is clearly more important here.


I agree that in contrast to regular crime, there is no need for prison for incapacitation purpose of punishment, some record forbidding any kind of entrepreneurship or managerial posts would be enough. For reparation purpose of punishment, garnishing the income would be enough.

But there is still deterrence purpose of punishment - if you remove prison from considerations, it significantly changes risk calculations for white collar crime making it much more profitable.


This guy called it back in 2013: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6349808

The whole thread is an interesting read in retrospect, quite a mix of effusiveness and skepticism: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6349349


I've long felt that the tech industry is somewhat blinded by decades of Moore's Law and its equivalent in storage, networking, etc. 2-10x improvements are so normal for Silicon Valley that they begin expecting to find them everywhere.

In just about every other field or industry, a 10% improvement every decade is amazing and represents the combined efforts of tens of thousands of researchers. A 2x improvement is a once-in-a-lifetime revolution that will be backed my mountains of joint; and 10x (like Theranos promised) completely unheard of.

This also functions as a great BS detector - breakthroughs of the scale Theranos claimed just don't happen out of nowhere - there would be thousands of peer reviewed papers leading up to it.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", and Theranos didn't even offer an ounce of it.


one of the most legendary posts on Hacker News, for sure. this is the only thing that person posted, and it was 100% spot on YEARS before the fall.

this person HAD to be an insider, no question.


I tried to search. Sadly can't find it at the moment.

But, there was/is a reddit thread that, without naming the company, originally asked is it normal for a company be "pumping numbers" in the medical field. It was an an engineer/scientist who asked it years before anything public. A number of commenters guessed it was Theranos, eventually the poster came back to confirm the suspicions while expounding on the whole experience.



this is the reddit that I miss, and this is the ONE example where it kind of sucks that we can comment on old posts. legendary thread; thank you for finding it.


Ah yes! That's the one! Thanks!


>this person HAD to be an insider, no question

Nah, that's doubtful. I've seen plenty of posts on HN and elsewhere that held the same sentiment. MANY people said that what they were trying to do was very difficult and they did not do anything to prove they had any technical advances to do it. The company was shady and overly secretive in a really strange way. The board was inappropriate for a biotech company.

Everyone with a background in biology or microfluidics said these things. It wasn't hard to find.

That's why I was so surprised when they partnered with Walgreens. I thought at the time that Walgreens must know something that the public didn't.


Or read their patents.


I owned 5 software patents. They are all hot airs.

Reading patent wouldn't help much.

You can go read any software patents and would be: wtf is this about?


Yes, but how many software shops get billions in funding specifically over sham inventions they've patented?

Theranos patented a skin patch that automatically analyses blood and dispenses the best drug from the patch's inventory.


My point is that reading patents wouldn't help much.

Most patents are written in an egregious way, even patents from a legit tech company.


Thanks for sharing this. It was a trip to read all those comments with what we know right now.


Interesting to compare this with the ongoing FTX disaster.

I think these two cases are sort of parallels: people assumed that someone was a genius to such an extent that they disregarded any signs of fraud and sought little proof of the assertions being made.


Also, accumulating powerful backers and friends to signal "this is a successful company" instead of building an actual company.


Elon says hi.


I wonder if these people are just psychopaths remarkably good at showing the right signs, or if there's just a huge supply of moronic investors.


Yes


Sorry this is an aside: but why’re we still doing this? It stopped being funny a long long time ago, doesn’t contain any information in regards to OP’s question, and we all know in real life people mean XOR when they say OR. so I’m just curious: did you recently find out about this and still find it amusing? What is it adding to the discussion? Nothing personal / maybe I’m just getting too old :)


SBF will get a lower sentence or might even dodge jail altogether considering how many political palms he's greased, including throughout the current administration.


I would happily suggest that Elizabeth Holmes was orders of magnitude BETTER connected than SBF.


But Holmes did not donate hundreds of millions to various groups and definitely did not help launder large amounts of money from war torn country. You have to be connected closer to the swamp to be protected by them.


I'd give it a couple months.


I keep seeing this sort of reply here but I don't get it. Isn't the judiciary system in the US independent from politics? If you can donate your way out of jail, something is seriously wrong with the justice system.


The courts are independent, but for criminal matters government prosecutors decide whether someone even makes it to court.

Consider the case of Hillary Clinton, who by textbook definition mishandled classified documents, which other people have been jailed for. She was not even referred for prosecution because of her widespread connections and political machinery.

There's numerous other examples of connected people getting light or no sentences. Jussie Smollett is another one.


She deserves much harsher than this for the harm she did to real people, which she sadly got off without a scratch for. As far as defrauding rich people, that's basically a public service.

It's not surprising that the one she got got for was the one where she hurt rich people.


"Judge Edward J. Davila ... sentenced Ms. Holmes to 135 months in prison, which is slightly more than 11 years. Ms. Holmes, 38, who plans to appeal the verdict, must report to prison on April 27, 2023.

Federal sentencing guidelines for wire fraud of the size that Ms. Holmes was convicted of recommend 20 years in prison. Ms. Holmes’s lawyers had asked for 18 months of house arrest, while prosecutors sought 15 years and $804 million in restitution for 29 investors."


Is it normal for there to be a sentencing and then be free for 5 months before going to prison? I always assumed after a sentencing you went straight to prison. What's the rationale for waiting? To listen to appeals?


For rich and connected people convicted of white collar crimes it's very common. It's also common for upper class criminals to arrange the terms of their own work release-- where they are employed by a company they own and are free 12+ hours a day, only returning to custody to sleep. (Epstein did this with his first conviction)

For the rest of the population without money, power or connections accused of drug crimes or petty theft it's typical that you will be arrested and placed in jail immediately and will be in custody until you are convicted / sentenced at which point you will go directly to prison.


Most people who aren't allowed voluntarily surrender weren't granted bail to begin with because they were either ruled a danger to the community or they were deemed an excessive flight risk. Plenty of "low level" criminals are allowed to turn themselves in, read enough cases on https://www.courtlistener.com/pacer and you'll see it's not unusual.


Sure, and plenty of innocent people rot in jail for months before their trial because they can't afford the cash bail.

That Americans are at all proud of such a system is disgusting.


People who defend bail just see bail as something that maximizes the likelihood the accused actually show up to court. In a high trust society it wouldn't be necessary, but we don't have that. Most people who are arrested are actually guilty of a crime which is why there is a 95% conviction rate in the federal system and ~75% across the states. Accordingly "society" has an interest in keeping the non criminal population safe and that is the origin of bail. It is unfortunate that many defendants, especially those who are already marginalized, are unable to exercise their speedy trial rights due to a combination of government incompetence, overwhelmed public defenders, and indigence but I wouldn't say anyone is proud of that.


Only lick the boot, don't swallow it whole.


in US - and specially for federal crimes - its very routine for the courts to give some time for the person to report to prison.

This allows the person sentenced to get their affairs in order.

I know somebody who is sentenced for 10 years. The court gave him 2 months which actually is not enough for all the items he need to wrap up. To give an idea, this person needs to:

- sell his house (who will pay the mortgage now that he is in prison) - sell his car - donate / get rid of his clothes and most of his belongings (or leave them in care of family / storage) - cancel all the subscriptions and utilities - take care of any medical needs - inform all the people who might reach out to him so they can communicate with him - more…

On the correction system side, they also need time to figure out where to send this person and create the space there: - If the person sentenced has any medical needs they will ask for a “medical” facility (connected to a hospital) and usually nicer. - the person sentenced might request a correction facility that is closer to his loved ones (the guy I know requested and going to a facility in Texas even though he lives in Florida as his closest relative is his sister who lives near that facility) - other factors include doing tests / analysis to figure out should the person go to level 1 security (minimum) or something higher; is the person considered a risk to other inmates? are other inmates considered a risk to this person (common for cops, sexual offenders etc)

Of course, if the person is considered a flight risk or violence risk - they will just send him/her to the nearest county jail and then figure out the rest.

Overall, a lot of logistics and consideration is given to an inmate - specially in a federal system.


Elizabeth is expecting and will give birth in early 2023. This is a mercy for the judge to allow her to not give birth in prison.


Or the judge trolling so that she'll pop out the kid and have some days to bond, and as soon as life feels somewhat normal and together the kid will be ripped away and she'll be tossed in a place full of gnashing of teeth and suffering.


She knew she had a high chance of incarceration, it’s the kids that’ll suffer, not her.


Suffer how exactly? The kids will have a father outside of prison, two sets of grandparents and several times more money devoted to them than the median American income.

If anything being kept away from the care of their fraudster unapologetic mother would be a boon , not suffering.


> Suffer how exactly?

Growing up without their mom for their first decade? Jesus christ man.


> Growing up without their mom for their first decade? Jesus christ man.

Growing up without a mom is a hardship. Growing up without her as their mother is a blessing.


I'd rather have her as a mom then no mom


>> Suffer how exactly?

> Growing up without their mom for their first decade? Jesus christ man.

Nonsense. The courts, the social welfare system and a significant number of both men and women have already, for decades, formally decided that removing one parent from a child is alright.

Why should they make an exception for this child?


The father is a rich and reasonably attractive dude. I do not think biological mom necessarily has to mean de facto mom. I doubt a custody order will be difficult with real mom in for a dime of prison. This could be a golden opportunity for those kids.


I am really surprised by the amount of sympathy given to her as their mother.

Do you not believe a bad mother is worse than no mother?


for a very long portion of their lives, they will be known as "the kids of the woman who defrauded investors of hundreds of millions and sold dangerously dodgy medical equipment"

so maybe that?


A stunning indictment of the American penal system delivered as some sort of flex?


Yes! My experience is state/county, but you can actually ask the court to give you more time before surrendering to commence your sentence. In my case, I was by default given 2 months before I had to surrender. From what I remember/know, courts are generally pretty respectful if you ask for more time (depending on reasoning/circumstances). If you've shown up all the way to sentencing, you're likely not a huge flight risk.


Probably two ways. First, for people to get their affairs in order. For example you don’t need a lease or can sell or rent out your house or something.

Second, for the prison facility to make sure there’s a free space for the incoming person.

Edit: Someone pointed out she’s pregnant, so there’s that…


Many women have given birth whilst incarcerated without receiving special consideration.


There are 3 possibilities to explain this.

1) Their crime was more violent in nature

2) They had a prior record and could be considered a danger to the community

3) Their lawyers weren't as good as Holmes' were


Yeah, can someone explain this? Meanwhile if you’re poor and can’t afford bail you might spend 3 years in jail awaiting trial: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalief_Browder


Wow that case you linked is disgusting!

I detest the kind of fraud Holmes perpetrated, but I very much support treating people with dignity. So the problem isn’t that she gets to wait outside prison but that many others don’t get to.

Especially this guy, wasn’t even a violent offence. Just absolutely despicable treatment.


>During his imprisonment, Browder was in solitary confinement for 700 days.

That's another problem of it's own.


Federal courts work differently than state courts.


holy cats. the only thing that might send you away longer is tax fraud and thats only because the us tax code was never demilitarized after we crushed the mafia. 18 months was never going to happen.


average sentence length for drug related mandatory minimums is 139 months. (2021)

pdf - https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-pu...


Max sentence for tax evasion is 5 years. You can have multiple counts but almost no one is sentenced consecutively.


>April 27, 2023

~Five months from now seems long. Is that a common delta between sentencing and prison?



As I predicted, @mikeyouse https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=mikeyouse and I both owe $10 to charity, per our bet (more than 3 for me, less than 15 for him).

I shall pay, of course. For you, sir, you can either give directly to Lighthouse Ministries (lfrad.org), or if you want to be sure it's tax-deductible, you can give to Martha's Kitchen in San Jose with a note that it's intended for Lighthouse. (They're a tax-exempt in California but their IRS 501(c)(3) hasn't come through yet.) Martha's acts as financial sponsor for them, which has some legal significance I don't quite understand.


Sounds good - I'll donate right now. Lighthouse is good with me. In a way, I'm glad we both lost that bet.

Side note, I previously worked with nonprofit fiscal sponsors - basically Martha's uses their (c)(3) to incubate specific initiatives like Lighthouse and handle all of their compliance / HR / legal for a small fee on the donations.


Done. (I first looked for L & L Foundation, which pointed me to something in Singapore https://www.llf.org.sg/how-to-help/donations) but I got suspicious and found your original link.)

================= Thank You for Your Donation!

  Thank you for your gift to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Your kindness is bringing new hope to blood cancer patients across the country.
Thank you for your gift to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Your kindness is bringing new hope to blood cancer patients across the country.

Thanks to you, we will: - Invest in innovative research and help deliver safer, more effective treatments - Connect patients and caregivers with free education and support services - Advocate at the state and national level to advance healthcare access


hi, yeah, I don't mind losing the bet at all.

I see the gleaner from Lighthouse all the time while walking the dog, so that's how I know them. Founded by a three-strikes guy!


Only 11? Gosh she literally faking medical results with death consequence. At least Madoff only con "investment money" of the rich. Holmes literally play millions of poors their lives. Says a lot about gender equality and every American lives equality....guess George said it best....some are more equal than others.


> Only 11? Gosh she literally faking medical results with death consequence

I agree that her actions were egregious, but those weren't what the trial was about. The trial was about defrauding investors, not about defrauding customers.

I don't know if there is a separate trial about that, or if it's too hard to proof harm in an individual case, or if nobody ever bothered. Hard to get money out of a failed company.


> The trial was about defrauding investors, not about defrauding customers.

Yeah, f@ck the customers. In the Capitalistic utopia of the USA, you cannot be allowed to embarrass the oligarchy, whether they work in private equity, the Fortune 100, or the military-industrial complex. They really are between a rock and a hard place with Holmes. She's obviously psychopathic enough to raise ungodly amounts of money, whatever the cost, but she embarrassed the wrong kind of people. So we wind up with a moderate sentence that means she will do hard time (to scare people away from outright fraud), but not too much (so she will be able to get back into the game after).


Perhaps from a pragmatic perspective you could think that this was the easiest case to get a conviction on. The prosecution would be mindful to get that one first so they don't cause a double jeopardy acquittal if they miss on the case that is harder to prove, but more correct in a moral sense.

They could now bring that case without worrying that she'll get away without repercussion.


Kenneth Lay got 45 years for enron. When will we finally bridge the female equality gap . Equal crimes equal times.


Enron was publicly traded and the fraud affected a huge number of people, retirement plans, etc.

Holmes defrauded a few dozen investors that quite honestly should’ve known better.


and thousands of patients who received false test results, missed necessary treatment, and died


She was found not guilty of that. You can't say "equal crimes equal times" when the crimes are in fact not equal.


Enron orchestrated power blackouts. IIRC, some people were harmed.


So if Martin Shkreli got 7 years for fraud, Elizabeth Holmes got 11 years for fraud. Does this mean SBF is looking at life in prison?

Hard to see why stealing billions of your customers money to spend gambling and buying personal items then lying about it multiple time isn't a bigger crime than what those two were sentenced for.


SBF will probably get off with no sentence or a very light sentence. Hell, he might not even get charged.

Martin basically ASKED for prison. Instead of apologizing, or claiming ignorance, he sort of doubled down on arrogance. Homles did largely the same thing. She doubled down.

SBF is apologizing left and right, claiming ignorance, and admitting that he made a mistake (even if it was 100% intentional). That goes a long way. Longer than you'd think. Most of the people he defrauded have little power over him. SBF knows how to play the game. He's been playing it since Day 1.

When in doubt, lie. But keep your lies consistent. A good lie is easier to believe than the truth. Because if you believe it, they believe it.


"Acceptance of responsibility" is like -3 points on the guidelines. That won't change the fact that he's still at like +40 points for the enormous loss amount, the huge number of victims, and the number of victims who suffered hardship. Even if they depart downward (they probably will because he will likely have the one of the best legal teams ever assembled and the most persuasive sentencing memorandum ever drafted) they are unlikely to depart by as much as you're talking about. SBF will probably get at least the sentence of Holmes unless he gets the most naive judge in the world.


SBF will be out fund raising again soon, he won’t see any time behind bars. -20 thanks to political bribes & connections, -5 helping with Ukraine’s money laundering, -12, based on the points Kanye has made.


I'll bet under on this


It’s almost entirely dependent on the judge. Matsumoto in EDNY would probably give him like 9 years or something like that but there are stricter judges. If his case is in California then it’d be different too.


This is not the first and won't be the last case of its kind.

The interesting thing politically is if this will be enforced or not, as I am sure there are a lot of Silicon valley founders worrying now. At best they will get some deserved extra scrutiny, at worse will be getting investigated.

I've seen talk about Holmes' political connections, but she surely is too toxic for them to get her a "free pass". She might get relief from somewhere else though?


Why would anyone be "worried about this" unless they, too, were running a big scam? Theranos did not fail it was just crime from start to finish.


It is pretty frustrating to me that Holmes was only ever convicted of defrauding investors and not patients.


That recent picture of her looks like she is pregnant. Is that the case? What a way to start an 11 year sentence.


She had a child while the case was pending, and is pregnant again.

Hell of a thing to do to a kid.


I'd have some compassion for her here. This is her last chance to have children, even if those kids might have a messed up life.


There are some of us who don't consider children a thing anybody has a "right" to have.


UN Declaration of Human Rights: Article 16 1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. [...]


Not all families have children. Some children are adopted.

I am grateful for the love and care my parents gave me, but I don't consider myself something that belongs to them as birth right.

It is my opinion people must be responsible of the children they breed.


Do natural rights fully apply to those convicted of serious felonies between day found guilty and the end of serving their sentence? I'm not saying they don't, but in the US one of the natural rights is explicitly the right to bear arms.


I know you're getting downvoted, but I must admit that I hadn't even considered that. She knew she'd likely go to jail for a pretty long time so if she wanted kids it _would_ actually be best if she had them beforehand.

I mean, it definitely also garners sympathy with the judge, but it'd be totally reasonable for her to do it just because she wanted kids.

Thanks for bringing up that perspective.


It just shows how bad of a person she is. She is having kids because _she_ wants to have them, even though she knows it will hard for them growing up. Putting herself before her kids even before they are born is pretty shitty parenting.


I agree with you, but I feel like almost all parents do the same thing.

I never asked for this shit and yet, I exist.


All parents have kids because they want to have them. You can't ask for consent from an unborn kid.

Are you implying that certain class of people (poor, ill, criminal, etc – who know their kids could have it hard) are not supposed to have kids?


If you can't take care of your kid then you shouldn't have a kid. I myself fall in this category. It's sad, but the world is not a fair place.


Hmm I've never heard anyone bring that up before. I didn't really understand the decision, but it does make sense.


tbf I think after 11 years she would be outside of the safe age range to have a baby in America, so now or never type of scenario.


Not entirely true. She’s young enough where she can harvest a good deal of eggs reliably. They can be frozen until she’s out of prison. The uterus age isn’t as big a deal as the age of eggs when harvested.


This is a common misconception which is very much false.

Frozen eggs don't last indefinitely and the viability degrades over time. After 5 or 6 years they become increasingly unlikely to be viable (it's not impossible, but statistically unlikely to be fruitful).


A friend of my mum had a baby at age ~55 using eggs frozen ~30 years earlier. Not sure if that was a crazy fluke or if some methods of freezing eggs are more reliable?


That's a crazy fluke, the max I've seen claimed to be done at all is 10-14 years.

When I re-entered the dating scene a couple years ago I learned much more than I ever wanted to know about egg freezing. It's big business here in the Bay Area where there are a lot of ambitious career women.


I really think in another decade or two there is going to be a lot of lawsuits regarding egg freezing being pushed on women by tech companies to stay on the career fasttrack when they can't get a viable pregnancy.

Most of the women I know that have gotten it done also seems to have almost a willful ignorance about the failure rate; especially later in life.


She’s about 6 months pregnant now and the sentence won’t begin until April 27, 2023.


I heard on NPR that yes, she is.


You are correct.


Is it spelled out clearly what exactly Elizabeth Holmes was convicted of committing investor fraud for?

Was it this?

> Holmes admitted on the stand that Theranos was running blood tests on modified third-party machines without telling its business partners and that she added the logos of two pharmaceutical companies to studies that the company sent to investors.

This seems like everyday, standard startup procedure. Was there a lot more?


Not only was it clearly spelled out (this is a federal court, after all), but the judge specifically identified the 11 investors who were defrauded and the total amount of fraudulent gains to come up with that $140 million (the prosecution wanted it to be based on $800 million).


Theranos used Siemens machines to perform blood tests instead of their "miracle" machines. German engineers know how to get the job done!


They were using smaller amounts of blood and diluting them outside the machines' spec.

Not much even German engineers can do about that.


Why can't she claim they made some dumb modification - and combined with using the Siemans machine out of spec - that it was the "Theranos Machine"?

This seems like startup 101.

On one hand, I can see why it's fraud. On the other hand, I can't - because it seems indistinguishable from a lot of businesses.


> This seems like startup 101. On one hand, I can see why it's fraud. On the other hand, I can't - because it seems indistinguishable from a lot of businesses.

This is the problem right here. Fake it till you make it bullshit. Rather than actually innovating, just pretend you are.


> Why can't she claim they made some dumb modification - and combined with using the Siemans machine out of spec - that it was the "Theranos Machine"?

Well, because we're talking about medical diagnosis, not a note-taking app. You don't get to just make claims, you need to prove them.


They didn't work with the amount of blood that they were providing.


Yes. There was a lot more.


Read Bad Blood and you will understand why.


Ouch! She got married, has a kid and is pregnant. The cynical side of me says that she did all that to get some leniency. It did not work.


two comments upthread from you: "this sentencing still feels exceedingly light."


11 years for literally putting lives at risk due to medical fraud, forget the money part for a moment. Someone may have lost a love one because of her, maybe it was a few? Hundreds? Who knows. But we are over 8 billion people in this world, do we really need people like this ever having a second chance to life? Medical fraud should be life sentence, at most, give her the opportunity to work from prison for the rest of her life.

This type of people prey on the ingenuous and naive, nothing wrong with being ingenuous but for the rest of us, we should also call out the predators like Holmes and try to keep this predators out of society.


She wasn’t convicted of defrauding patients, only investors.


Not familiar with legal issues - can someone explain why Adam Neumann is free but Holmes is in jail? Isn't both committing fraud from investor POV? And is SBF committing the same crime?


Adam Neumann had a failed business model. He explained his business model. Investors believed in the business model. They invested. But the business model, and his PR image dents caused them to lose money.

Holmes had a vision of a business model. She explained her business model and brought on a board of directors of leering old farts. Investors also believed in the vision and invested in her to achieve the vision. She tried to achieve her vision, but failed miserably. Instead of telling investors and regulators and business partners about the failure, she hid the failure, covered up by using industry standard practices for medical testing, passing them off as testing from her products. As a cherry on the top, she also used her comically in-accurate products to give actual test results to patients. As a cherry on top of the cherry, all the while this was happening, she had an affair with another investor, went on a PR blitz of fame whoring and the like.

When the chickens came to roost, she pitched up her voice, started wearing feminine colorful dresses, got pregnant for sad puppy new mom face points.

She is a psychopath and a danger to society.


You forgot that she also hired people to harass her own employees. One committed suicide.

Comparing Holmes to Neumann is an insult to even Neumann.


does this not describe - modulo some specifics - elon musk? where is full self driving? solar roof tiles? the manned mars landing?

holmes deserves punishment on some level, certainly, although honestly i feel 10+ years might be a bit much.

where is this zeal for her male analogues? they’re all playing the same game.


I'm not a Musk fan these days, but I have to admit that he did create things of value. Cheap transport to orbit, some pivotal electric cars. Sure, he promised more, but at least he delivered something of value.

The full self driving claim, that one could be fraudulent.

As for the vision to go to Mars? Might still be achievable, and I don't think he had customers pay for that yet.

In contrast, neither FTX nor Theranos created lasting value.


Failing to deliver is not a crime. Otherwise half of SV would be in the slammer.


We will have full self testing theranos machines by the end of the year.


Unfortunately, I think the sentence is appropriate and hope it serves as a lesson. We have too many startup founders today that think lying, cheating and defrauding investors, customers, employees are table stakes or worse "hacking it" or faking it till you make it- is OK and justified. Look at how casual SBF seems even after being caught as a fraud. There's no remorse. Its disgusting to many Americans who work hard, follow the rules and make low wages doing an honest job.


> "I am devastated by my failings,” she said. “I have felt deep pain.."

I am. I have.

Still me me me. Narcissist.


Even now she does not admit any responsibility. "I failed", not "I maliciously, knowingly, willingly committed crimes". Not surprising give that she plans to appeal, though. She is trying (as usual) to have her cake and eat it to: get credit for remorse during sentencing and still be able to claim she's not guilty at the appeal. Hence this cringeworthy non-apology apology.


Out of curiosity, does anyone know what happened to all of the Theranos hardware / technology after the company was shut down? e.g. the edison testing machines


As the other's have said, Theranos technology had nothing of value. Not only did the technology not work, it is physically impossible for it to ever work - capillary blood is not homogeneous enough at that small of a volume to give accurate quantitative results.

This is one of the things that made me a bit angry when reading some of the letters of support to Holmes today, and her own statement. That is, so much of it still carried on with the fantasy that "Holmes was close, but just fell short".

No, she didn't fall short. Her own lust for recognition and power blinded her to the physical realities of what was possible, harming investors, employees and patients in the process.

I'm actually a bit surprised at the outcome - 11 years seems like a fair and justified sentence for what she perpetrated.


They had nothing of value.

They were often running tests on competitors machines. They either passed those results off as coming from their machines, or validated their own results using competing machines.

Their machine could not do what it promised with the amount of blood it claimed to use and was no better than proven machines, and arguably worse as they had lot of maintenance issues even operating at their HQ.


What is the value of IP that doesn't work? Edison machine IP seems about as useful as those time travel or perpetual motion machine patents that come up.


I would very much like a Theranos Edison for my office, next to a Juicero.


Someone ought to make a museum of failed products. These two exhibits would be a great start!



I'd imagine those machines in particular would be useful as museum pieces.


That is what I am thinking.


I don't think that the machine IP has much (any) value, more just curious what happened to them from an "oddity" viewpoint e.g. did they get thrown in a dumpster or is there some warehouse out there, packed with all the stuff they cleared out of the old Theranos HQ


Presumably there are liquidation companies that deal with such things. (There are companies out there to do pretty much anything.)


Collectibles…definitely a market there


OK, so what about Sam Bankman-Fried, will he be sued and sentenced too? when you mess up billions of dollars can you get out untouched in the end?


Do any of the patients she defrauded have civil suits against her / Thernos?


They would have to be able to show some damages, which would be quite hard.


Do the families of patients who died have any recourse? It’s an affront to justice that she seems to have gotten away with what’s effectively murder or manslaughter.


Who died?

They failed to demonstrate patient harm in court. The best they prosecution could find was one person who got a false positive for HIV and was retested and found negative.


Ah. I haven’t followed this case, and have seen claims of misdiagnosis and patient harm. I assumed this had led to tragic outcomes.


She was found not guilty on the patient related matters.


> long sentence for Ms. Holmes was important to “deter future start-up fraud schemes”

That is not how justice works. Each case must be taken by itself. So gross how people throw around this "sends a message!" bullshit so flippantly when it clearly means "the punishment will not fit the crime as we have added a bunch on to scare other people".


Deterrence is a long accepted part of sentencing in the US. You might not like it, clearly how punishment works.

Get a fine for speeding or littering and it will have no relation to the damage you did.


Deterrence is seeing justice in action. All sentencing, like speeding and littering fines, are supposed to hurt _just enough_ to deter one from doing it, but not in excess. 8th Amendment "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." uses the word "excessive" twice.

All of this is opinionated since quantifying justice is often pretty difficult.

https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-8


Sounds entirely compatible with sending a message.

Message =/= excessive


You mean “long-established” not “long-accepted”.


I agree that they are different but would argue that both apply


You know what REALLY bothers me about this?

She (possibly) gets pregnant during the first trial to garner sympathy. Even if you have a charitable interpretation of this only the worst of the worst narcissistic sociopaths decide to "start a family" when they're potentially facing 15 years in Federal Prison. She's currently pregnant with her second child.

Now those kids get to grown up without a mother and live the rest of their lives with the knowledge or at least suspicion they're in this world because their con-artist mother was trying to manipulate the justice system.

Even IF you take the approach that she thought big and failed, doing no real wrong the situation with her pregnancies (in my mind) isn't up for debate. On this issue alone I find her completely reprehensible.


Or she's 38 and her fertility window is closing. I'll hold many things against her, she deserves prison time, but I won't hold having a child against her or judge her for it. She may be doing it for the reasons you mentioned, but so many women go to prison with far fewer resources to care for their children while they're in. I doubt she thought any seasoned judge would take it into consideration.


I know a lot of things go into such decisions as significant as starting a family but if she had children at any point in the 20 years before being indicted I would have a completely different perspective on this and nothing but sympathy for her in terms of the family situation.

In terms of fertility window - too bad. This is one of the many things she should have been thinking of while conducting her fraud over the past decades. Not everyone should be a parent. She also has the resources to do things like freeze eggs, etc. I know that's not a guarantee but plenty of men have children at 50 and it doesn't seem terrible for the kids.

While the children will be better off than parents with fewer resources this is an almost guaranteed "years of therapy" situation for these poor kids.

Judges don't convict people - juries do and I think it's been demonstrated she's very calculating and conniving. If there was even a remote chance she could skate free based on one juror holding out on a conviction based on her family situation she would take it (and did). It just didn't work and the kids will be the ones paying for it.


All fair points - in this case though, the judge determined the sentence right and the jury only the guilt?


Yes, the judge determines the sentencing. I'm not a lawyer and it's complicated but from my understanding there are a lot of quirks (for lack of a better term) when it comes to the sentencing phase. For example, prosecutors asking for sentencing are essentially given cart blanche in terms of making arguments and presenting evidence to the judge to impact sentencing that can't be challenged by the defense and usually can't be introduced during the trial itself. Basically when it comes to sentencing both sides get to take the gloves off.


And she will be out before she's 50 and be able to have some relationship with her kids. I agree with you (and not the grandparent comment) -- I can't hold this against her.


She could have frozen eggs and done surrogate birth at 50. Or adopt (likely private as she is now a convicted felon). Average life expectancy for women in the US is 79 years and much longer for wealthy people. That's long enough to not only be there for your children in their important development years but also (likely) attend their wedding, be a grandparent, etc. This has the added benefit of the kids not having the psychological damage that comes from the whole "did my mom have me just to try to stay out of prison?" aspect.

She's very intelligent and calculating and had to have considered these substantially better options for starting a family given her situation. Instead, I'm convinced these pregnancies were timed to solely benefit her with likely no consideration for what it meant for these poor kids.


Frozen the eggs? It doesn’t work that way. Viability drops off a cliff after 5 years and ivf is not a simple process. It’s hell on a woman. No one is going to want to go through it multiple times if they don’t have to or risk having quintuplets.


I was conceived via anonymous donor sperm and IVF but I wasn't aware of the viability timeline issue. Sorry for that. Yet still there's adoption.

As I just elaborated further on in another comment I didn't have parents for the first 10 years of my life either and it was damaging to say the least. Also kind of ironic because of the lengths my parents went to have me only to disappear for a decade.

I'm passionate about this and have tremendous sympathy for these kids because in a way I am these kids. I have such a strong dislike for her because I know this. I've lived it.


Can confirm it’s hell, and I was just the male partner and our benefits paid for it. We were fortunate and it took 4 rounds. Also, I don’t think the multiple birth is done any more, that’s just if you use fertility drugs. With IVF, they only implant one embryo that’s made it to day 6 at a time.


Ooooohhhhh the fertility window. Don't commit crimes then


When she was still a hot ticket part of her public image was the assertion that she was too driven about changing the world to have a boyfriend, which sent a lot of impressionable men absolutely ga-ga for her.

https://www.inc.com/magazine/201510/kimberly-weisul/the-long...


She is not going to be a mother to those children. She is not going to care for them. She will not be a part of their development. They will be entering their tween years when she gets out. Her children will not know her and will not particularly want to have a relationship with her.

Her reasons for getting pregnant are solely and exclusively selfish.


She's too old to have kids once she's out though. It's now or never for her.


That's exactly it - "for her". What about the kids?


They will be happy to exist in the first place. They will also have a millionaire father. I think you are projecting.


There’s no point in getting into the philosophical debate that is your first point - with the most obvious response being if they weren’t here they wouldn’t know the difference. There is no “they”.

It’s really disheartening to see this come up again and again on this thread.

If anyone would really trade the first 10 years of their life with their mother for any amount of money I truly feel sorry for them. Yes they have a dad. But they also have a mom - but not really because she’s in prison.

This tendency here on HN to presume this situation won’t be of significant negative impact to these kids is shocking to me.

If you really think a kid who lives the first ten years of their life never seeing their mom outside of a prison will be just fine because they have a “millionaire father” I’m not sure what to say.


There are worse situations. Is she selfish because she wants kids before she goes to prison? Is it better to not have kids, instead of having kids while you are in prison? Is it better to not be alive, than to have to overcome a difficult situation? If you don't want to get philosophical, then don't dispense your moraline.

It's ok to feel for the kids. To feel for them so much to tell them you shouldn't exist, is a bit much.


> They will be happy to exist in the first place.

Projecting much?


Probably not the best idea to commit crimes that carry prison sentences if you want to start a family. I agree with OP. This is truly horrifying narcissism.


It is terrible if that was the reason, but as for the kids, plenty of kids grow up with one parent or raised by grandparents, aunts/uncles, or adoptive parents.


Even if it wasn't the reason I don't think it's a stretch to say the seed of doubt that this situation plants in the minds of these children will likely cause a lot of completely unnecessary psychological damage.


135 months, for defrauding and conspiring to defraud 3 of the largest investors of $140MM.

If we follow this sentencing as a guide for future cases brought against SBF & co, should we expect 1 mo per $MM defrauded, so 8,000 months, or 666 years(!) ? Or should we look at it like 45mo per investor defrauded, so 45,000,000 months?

Either way, I think this is probably a fair sentence and more than I expected. 11.25 years isn't trivial, and as long as there isn't some early release or she wins a more lenient sentence on appeal, it's going to be a painful 11 years, especially since she's about to be a new mother. Feel bad for the kid..


There no way all of that will be served in a prison.


Are you guessing here or is there something I missed in the article? Her sentence starts in April '23 and it's not house arrest.


btw, I'm listening to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFFxLwvGLhU right now, so I don't know if he covers this later. He's right that she will soon give an interview where she admits guilt, no matter what she says now. It's a ploy to get a commutation.

But:

There is such a thing as a prison consultant. You pay for them before you go in. These are people with some background in the bureau of prisons, or some pull, or something. They can steer you to a "good" prison, if the one you're designated for is not what you want. My friend was supposed to go to one near his house, and he preferred a different one. He got it. It was not a country club, contrary to the stereotype. (Should be unnecessary to say this, but I'm not going to provide any more details.)

The guy in that video said that they could be pissed off at her, and ship her across the country to West Virginia, instead of Dublin, CA. The thing about that you wouldn't think of is, those trips are hell. It's a special flight, It might stop eight times on the way, and every step of the way you're cuffed or chained, waiting a long time for the next flight.


That was a great video actually. Very eye opening.


To be honest I thought she will get away with no prison time like the Sacklers but I guess her powerful friends were not that powerful after all. Not enough $ in the game.


I would rather see her see no prison and the Sacklers get life....


the "she'll never be convicted" crowd has moved on to "she'll never serve much of the sentence", despite a dozen folks here explaining how the federal system works.

i look forward to returning to HN in september 2032 and seeing what what sort of cope is on display when she's released after 9.5 years. will we have holmes-prison truthers? "she was never in prison, it was a body double the whole time!".

it'll be fascinating.


I am literally a member of this crowd. Let’s see how this plays out.


She has to surrender by April 27th.

How does that work? Usually I thought after your trial, at sentencing... that's it, you go away in handcuffs


Not unless you're considered a flight risk or a danger to the community. People usually sell their house, car, cancel utilities, say goodbyes, etc. It's pretty sad to be honest (not saying that most of it isn't deserved).


Good.

She was a fraud and misled everyone in a big way: investors, patients, etc…

White collar crime needs to be punished. Or “held accountable for”


> She was a fraud and misled everyone in a big way: investors, patients, etc…

ONLY guilty of defrauding investors - not guilty of defrauding patients.

"Holmes was acquitted on three charges relating to patients who received inaccurate test results but found guilty on four charges, including one count of conspiracy to defraud investors and three counts of wire fraud against investors."

Which makes me wonder - if your product is not defrauding customers, then how is it that you are defrauding investors ...


> Which makes me wonder - if your product is not defrauding customers, then how is it that you are defrauding investors ...

I believe a distinction is being made where Theranos the company is understood to have defrauded customers but it cannot be proven that Holmes directly defrauded all customers. Where it can be proven that she directly defrauded investors given she was aware of the fraud against customers.


This woman likely killed people (directly via suicide, indirectly via false tests). This sentence is light IMO.


Hey, maybe years ago when Theranos was first accused of fraud this sort of speculation (crappy test resulta leading to deaths) would have made sense. But years of airing dirty laundry in public on this case have not brought forth any such claims, from family members etc.

If we are to place bets and speculate, I would bet no one was actually killed by this.

But I'm not trying to argue this is a fair sentence. Just saying that we don't need to keep throwing random speculative argument with hypothetical crimes years later.


You’re right, the crimes she was convicted of in the court of law allow for a tougher sentence.


This is probably pedantic but since she is still alive, I highly doubt that she killed anyone directly via suicide


I guess we finally know what the price for "Fake it till you make it" is: 11 years.


More like the price of "Fake it till you break it."

I don't think there is any price if you end up making it.


This is going to be the unpopular take, but this woman committed a crime that is very easy to prevent. Blacklist her from taking any further investments or being CEO or any executive officer. There's really no reason to feed and house her. She should work for her money and we don't need to ruin a child's life.

The primary purpose of imprisonment is to keep dangerous (i.e, violent) offenders off the street. Violence is especially bad because it is difficult for the government to prevent all violence, so drastic measures like prison make sense.

It is fairly straightforward to stop holmes from doing what she did again using other means.

I dunno, just my take. And yes, I feel this way about most white collar crime. Like it or not, white collar crime is not violent; thus prison seems pointless and like a waste of money.


Agreeing with what you say. But the criminal system’s purpose is not just prevention.

Actually, nobody is really sure what its purpose is.

Why do parents, when they get really angry, sometimes hit a child? Psychology has proven that doing so is a really terrible way of preventing further infractions. So the impulse to punish is not necessarily rational.

A whole religion has been built on the idea of consciously letting go of the urge to judge and punish - and it hasn’t worked out for 2000 years.

So one reason why the government punishes criminals is to take the wind out of the sails of all the private parties that otherwise would cry for punishment of that person, or take it into that own hands. In that sense, it is essentially a power move by the state in order to remain in control and “keep the peace”.


How is a company supposed to fail gracefully?

There's always a touch of dishonesty in these ventures -- it's so-called risk -- but when a company no longer is worth anything, how is that supposed to fail blamelessly?

It's a wonder that "Computer (occupation)"[0] never became a corporation with unions so that we'd have a case study of something that clearly should have gone by the wayside with the advent of technology.

Maybe there are some guidelines for business models that even make sense. Apparently Theranos illustrates that "accusing everyone else of being a lazy liar with stagnant investment" isn't workable either.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_(occupation)


Extremely light sentence if you think money involved. There really should not be this sort of discount and some clear and simple math on prison time per amount of damages.


I'll have to watch a doc or something but two quick questions if anyone knows:

Was this even in the realm of possibility?

What lead her to start this company? Was it 90% scam, 10% "trying" or just 100% scam?

Thanks!


Complete scam. Her Stanford professor gave several interviews where the prof said she told Holmes her technology is not scientifically possible. All the execs at Theranos knew it didn’t work. That was why they secretly outsourced work to traditional laboratories.

Then there was the whistle blower Tyler Schultz. He got roughed up by Theranos lawyers at his own grandfathers house. His grandfather was George Schultz former US Sec of State and Theranos board member. The lawyers wanted him to admit he gave away “trade secrets”. The trade secret is Holmes and everyone at Theranos belong in prison.

https://www.fraud-magazine.com/cover-article.aspx?id=4295006...


I still can't get over the fact that so many rich people invested in this thing and joined the board despite anyone with the scientific knowledge to understand what Theranos said they were doing knew it was a scam.

How to you invest millions in a medical/science company and not ask some impartial third parties if they think it is legit?


Holmes also scammed Harvard Medical School. HMS invited her to join their Board of Fellows despite Phyllis Gardner's loud protests, the very same Stanford professor who met Holmes years earlier. Phyllis Gardner was on the same Board of Fellows and told everyone else that Holmes was a fraud. Harvard ignored Phyllis Gardner as all they could see was $$$.

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2022/11/3/elizabeth-holme...


Read the book Bad Blood and watch the series The Dropout for a fairly complete picture of the whole saga.

The Dropout https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10166622/

After that, 10 mins of Alex Gibney's doco The Inventor will likely be enough, just to see and hear the creepy reality.

> Was this even in the realm of possibility?

Apparently not even in the realm of possibility. It seems she had a vision of herself as a genius who changed the world, and lived in that bubble. Still does, it seems.

Even after reading Bad Blood, the series really shows you how it looked, how such a thing was even possible, and went on for so many years. It's such a crazy story. I do feel sorry for Sonny though.


A light sentence that just encourages fraud. You can become a billionaire in exchange for 10 years of your life napping. Why work for 40 years?


Don't think she became a billionaire at the end


Whatever. The real downside here is that research funding in the field of blood testing will be decimated for them next 20 years.


Meanwhile SBF is free, and the people investigating him have all received donations from him in the past.

11 years is too much for Holmes, people have done much worse and gotten a lot less than that.

My guess is the sets of people who lost money on Theranos and those who lost money on FTX don't intersect at all, the former is made of rich people and the latter of everyday people, so it makes more sense...


Sounds about right to me.

Poor child though, but I don’t think it would be less poor growing up with such a person as their mum.


I know that people are mostly happy about this this-- and I'm definitely in the minority, but I feel that watching someone lose 11 years of her life in slow motion is not something to be celebrated. It's sad. Secondly, I know it's a pipe dream, but I'd rather see her contribute something back to society (if this is society's retribution) than drain money from us so we can keep her caged.


so how do you disincentivize prospective criminals to do this in the future?


The people who do crimes like this are usually looking for money and/or power.

So, take away their money via fines/restitution and take away their power by banning them from founding companies or being involved in certain industries.

11 years in prison seems more vindictive than it does preventative.


> take away their money via fines/restitution

And how does that work when her husband is incredibly wealthy? She will still live in absolute luxury.


Good question. Maybe take what they took, garnish future wages, have them make some kind of restitution, or something similar. I think if prison sentences were applied reasonably, reliably, and objectively they'd be a better deterrent. For instance, if it wasn't a gamble worth taking, if the consequences were guaranteed and applied evenly, I think people wouldn't risk this kind of fraud. Overcompensating by applying rare and lengthy prison sentences as a warning just makes this akin to a ghost story that rich people tell each other.


This is in fact not rare. By the book she got much less than she could have. People are failing to grasp the scale of the fraud she committed, I think. The rare thing is just that fraud at this scale doesn’t happen very often, but the sentencing guidelines are written out and very clear.


I feel pretty strongly about this, so please use this opportunity to hit me twice instead of telling me why I'm wrong.


I just think it's possible to be both. Happy that the justice system functions as intended (which many see as increasingly rare) but also sad for her as a person to lose so much of her life behind bars.


You are using empathy for her, which is great. Losing a decade of your life sucks. You don’t get that many years to begin with. Committing fraud sucks though. You can’t just do that and then say you are sorry and “contribute to society” to make up for it. There are so very many terrible things about our justice system, however lying and committing fraud at this scale absolutely must have consequences, especially to deter others from attempting the same sort of fraud.


Execution would be an appropriate punishment for sociopathic lying at this scale. Beyond defrauding investors of millions, she gave patients and doctors fake test results that she knew were fake. She knew that could have led to people dying of perfectly treatable conditions. That none did, as best as we can tell, is a lucky accident. This is an evil person. Off with her head.


These crimes were bad. But on the bright side, we got Alan Ruck’s finest performance on that Hulu show.


Where is the jail time for Zuck? He nuked $750b in shareholder wealth. I eagerly await the sentencing.


This needs to happen far more often.


Such bullshit, I might as well do shady shit too if all it means is 11 years…

Let me guess, Sunny gets 20


Only government organizations and reserve banks are allowed to commit fraud.


Not that I don't think Elizabeth Holmes deserves this sentence, but when was the last time you heard about an investor get sentenced to a decade in prison for saying they'd make valuable introductions (or whatever) as part of the investment process and then not following through?


That’s not how sentencing works in this country. The specific crime you were convicted of determines the possible range of sentences. Then judge considers a multitude of factors to determine exact sentence. This includes prior offenses and also all “relevant conduct”, i.e. the totality of your wrongdoing, not just what you were specifically convicted of.

Also, not sure what you’re on about re: failing to make introduction. She claimed to have revolutionary blood tests that worked, but they were useless and she knew it. It was blatant lying and fraud to the tune of millions of dollars. Not to mention all the doctors and patients who thought they got accurate test results and relied on them.


For one thing let me say I'm glad she was sentenced. She took too much risk with the most precious things we have: our lives. However, I think there are a lot more in silicon valley et cetera who would be guilty of similar things she did. Elon Musk is known for having lied about his degree, for instance. Now I don't know whether that's enough. I really think it's not but it's a question to consider. Didn't someone at Twitter lie about bots as well? At least according to Elon. Holmes did go too far so she was nabbed. But it does beg the question whether this will set a precedent for anyone in the fast-talking fast-failing startup circles trying to 'fake it until you make it' or whether any precedent set will be limited to certain sectors, certain types of individuals et cetera. I guess silicon valley lawyers and startup accelerators will have to do their homework and figure out whether anything should change.


I feel really bad for her children, I can't believe she had the gall to have them given this inevitability.

I'm also of the mind that people shouldn't go to prison for non-violent crime (some extreme form of probation seems more effective to me), but that's an entirely different story.


I find it odd that she found love and married. It seems like a pretty big negative that someone would have to get over to meet and love someone who defrauded billions of dollars.


I mean, she's attractive, smart, pretty good genetics, clearly well connected. I don't find it that surprising.


Pretty good genetics, except for, you know, the part where she has a sociopath’s broken brain.


And are most of the people she‘s well-connected to not annoyed that she lost their money?

And isn‘t attractive just stating the same as good genetics?

And is she really that smart, given the fact that she first dropped out and then her company failed and now she was imprisoned and the company only „worked“ anyway because of fraud?


> And are most of the people she‘s well-connected to not annoyed that she lost their money?

Ya admittedly one would have to assess that and also make some estimate about how much her notoriety will positively or negatively affect her offsprings' outcomes. I tend to lean toward it being a net positive, since fame seems valuable almost regardless of how it's acquired these days.

> And isn‘t attractive just stating the same as good genetics?

It also includes height, medical history, longevity, intelligence, ambition/drive, work ethic. I admittedly don't know much about medical history, but I might be willing to gamble.

> And is she really that smart,

No she's not really that smart, I'd estimate 1-2 stddevs from the mean. In my opinion that's smart enough for a potential spouse with other positive attributes, particularly if you think that you're smarter still.


“people shouldn't go to prison for non-violent crime “

How do you deal with people like Madoff and other Ponzi operators? They ruin the lives of multiple people.


a life of community service would be a good start, stick him in a studio apartment serving meals to the homeless 40 hours a week and he might wish for prison


She had children specifically hoping it would help her avoid harsh punishment. She’s a manipulative sociopath…having children was more of the same.


I am not aware of any statement from her or those close to her that confirms your assertion. She is 38 years old. If she wants children, it's now or never. She might be a terrible person, but that doesn't change the realities of female biology.


I’m not sure that analysis is any more flattering. She had children knowing she was at serious risk of significant incarceration. Pretty awful situation she’s created for innocent children.


not the kids fault though


How much can she decrease it with good behaviour? (which she will probably have, as I'm not expecting her to do anything bad there).

Maybe she gets out after 5 years, which is hopefully enough for her to not sta