Elizabeth Holmes, Subject Of Amanda Seyfried’s The Dropout, Sentenced To 11 Years In Prison

Elizabeth Holmes screenshot from CBS Mornings interview
(Image credit: CBS Mornings)

Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes made waves in the biotech industry by becoming the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire with her $9 billion company Theranos. That is, until it was discovered and reported that her blood-testing business did not actually work and she had swindled investors out of millions. Years after Holmes was first investigated by the federal authorities, she has been officially convicted and now sentenced by a California judge. Holmes is set to serve over 11 years in a federal prison. 

Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty on four of eleven counts of fraud on Friday. Three of those counts are of wire fraud and the other one is of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Holmes was found not guilty of four other counts while the jury was deadlocked on the other three charges. The judge is sending her to 135 months in federal prison before serving three years of supervised release. 

The ruling comes from a courthouse in San Jose, California via The New York Times, following many of us learning the specifics of Elizabeth Holmes' crimes in The Dropout. Across eight episodes, the Hulu miniseries based on a 2019 podcast of the same name details Holmes' and Theranos' rise and fall, starting from her preteens to her investigation. 

Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Hughes in The Dropout.

(Image credit: Hulu)

Holmes’ fraud was first investigated in 2015 by Wall Street Journal journalist John Carreyrou, who discovered the machine she was selling, called The Edison, didn’t work and Theranos had been using outside technology and other subterfuge to fake its blood-testing claims. Prosecutors were hoping for a 15-year sentence whilst Holmes’ probation officer hoped for a nine-year term. 

Holmes’ own team asked that she serve just 18 months, with the Theranos founder claiming in her testimony that her judgment was clouded due to alleged abuse by former boyfriend and Theranos executive Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani. Balwani, who was portrayed by Naveen Andrews in The Dropout, was previously convicted of 12 counts of fraud and will reportedly be sentenced soon after Holmes. U.S. Attorney John Bostic claimed that Holmes is “old enough to know the difference between right and wrong,” refuting her defense in his closing argument. 

The Dropout was made available for those with a Hulu subscription back in March to rave reviews from critics. Amanda Seyfried was among the 2022 Emmy winners for portraying Elizabeth Holmes, along with the series being nominated for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series. Audiences thought the Mamma Mia actress absolutely nailed Holmes notable voice and Jennifer Lawrence decided to drop out of playing Holmes in a movie adaptation because she thought Seyfried was so “terrific” in the role. 

In addition to The Dropout, you can learn more about Elizabeth Holmes in the 2019 documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley on HBO Max. After nearly a year of Holmes awaiting her sentencing, we now know the Theranos founder will officially spend over a decade behind bars. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.