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Elizabeth Holmes is sentenced to more than 11 years for fraud (nytimes.com)
978 points by doener 74 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?


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