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US prosecutors seek 15 years in prison for Elizabeth Holmes for defrauding Theranos

US prosecutors seek 15 years in prison for Elizabeth Holmes for defrauding Theranos

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes should spend 15 years in prison and pay $800 million to investors she defrauded in her blood-testing startup, US prosecutors recommended late Friday.

The Justice Department’s recommendation, made in a court filing, came as Holmes prepares to stand trial next week.

“Given the extent of Holmes’ fraud … a 180-month prison sentence would reflect the seriousness of the crimes, provide just punishment for the perpetrators and deter Holmes and others,” prosecutors said.

Holmes earlier asked U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, not to send him to prison.

A jury convicted the 38-year-old of four counts of fraud and conspiracy in January. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. All sentences would likely be served concurrently.

Prosecutors said he lied to investors from 2010 to 2015 that Theranos Inc’s technology could perform many tests on a drop of blood from a fingertip.

Holmes pleaded not guilty to lying about Theranos, including that its technology could detect disease with a few drops of blood, and said the company’s lab managers were concerned about the quality of the test.

On Monday, Davila denied a request for a new trial, citing, among other things, that a key prosecution witness visited the home and made statements that undermined his testimony.

Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 when he was 19 years old. The company was once valued at $9 billion, and Forbes magazine estimated Holmes’ net worth at $4.5 billion in 2015.

Theranos collapsed after the Wall Street Journal published a series of articles beginning in 2015 that suggested its devices were flawed and inaccurate.

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