February 21, 2024

Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced entrepreneur convicted of defrauding investors in her failed blood-testing startup Theranos, reported to a federal prison in Texas on Tuesday, Started serving 11 years and three months.

Ms. Holmes surrendered to FPC Bryan, a minimum security women’s prison camp about 90 minutes outside of Houston. She parked in a Ford Expedition that appeared to be driven by her mother, Noel Holmes. Her father, Christian Holmes, appears to be inside.

After circling around, out of view of the cameras gathered nearby, Elizabeth Holmes, wearing jeans, glasses and a sweater, entered the facility with some documents. A bystander watching from the street called out her name as she entered the prison.

FPC Bryan’s 655 inmates are required to work in the cafeteria or manufacturing plant, where wages start at $1.15 an hour, according to the prison handbook. Before starting work at the factory, Ms. Holmes may take tests to assess her strengths in areas such as business, clerical, numerical, logical, mechanical and “social”. Inmates can also participate in a “Lean Six Sigma” training program to learn about efficiency.

“We try to help our ladies find work in factories, focusing on their strengths so they can develop more marketable skills,” says the jail’s handbook.

Ms. Holmes, 39, was convicted last year of four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy for falsely claiming that a Theranos blood test can detect a variety of diseases with just a few drops of blood. She and her former business partner, Ramesh Balwani, must jointly pay $452 million in damages to defrauded investors. Ms Holmes has appealed her case, but her request to stay out of jail pending the appeal has been dismissed.

Ms. Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 after dropping out of Stanford University at age 19. The company raised $950 million in funding, making her a titular billionaire. Theranos folded in 2018. Ms Holmes and Mr Balwani were indicted that year.

The two were tried separately. Mr. Balwani was convicted of 12 counts of fraud and is serving nearly 13 years in federal prison in San Pedro, California. He also appealed the case.

Ms. Holmes’ verdict is meant to send a message to the rest of Silicon Valley: When ambitious startup founders practice an ethos known as “fake it till you make it” — when entrepreneurs talk about their ambitions There are consequences when companies can do things even if those companies can’t do those things yet — too much. While the tech industry has long expanded the rules, as entrepreneurs invent new businesses and disrupt old ones, few people go to jail for lying.

Since her conviction, Ms. Holmes has been living in a rental home in San Diego, close to the home of Billy Evans, the father of her two children.During the trial in San Jose, California, Ms Holmes and Mr Evans lived in green gables groundsa $135 million estate in the affluent town of Woodside.

Their two young children, William and Invicta, will be able to video call Holmes and visit her on weekends and federal holidays. Call time is limited to 15 minutes each, for a total of 300 minutes per month.

At FPC Bryan, Ms. Holmes, known for impersonating Steve Jobs in a black turtleneck, will be wearing prison-issued khaki pants and pale green, Gray shirt or white sneakers, no more than $100 in value.

She doesn’t have internet access, but can buy a radio ($31.75) or MP3 player ($88.40) from the commissary. According to the prison manual, all music must be “non-explicit”.

According to its brochure, leisure activities at FPC Bryan include music shows, “table games” and movies. Handcrafts are available, including beading, knitting, papercraft, crochet and ceramics. Crochet hooks cost $1.30 and yarn $3.55 at FPC Bryan’s commissary, according to the manual.

Inmates have access to an outdoor “Recreation Court Pavilion” but must return to their dormitory for five counts every 24 hours.

It is against the law to forge or falsify documents and to conduct business. Ms Holmes pleaded guilty to falsifying drug reports to solicit investors while testifying at her trial.

Other inmates at the prison camp include Jen Shah, the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star who was serving a five-and-a-half year sentence for wire fraud related to a blog post In her first few days in jail, starting in March, Ms Shah described the difficulty of operating a phone system that uses accounts, noting that not many people are good. Breakfast, she wrote, was instant oatmeal, an apple and a slice of wheat bread with jelly.

Lea Fastow, a former executive at collapsed energy company Enron, was imprisoned at FPC Bryan for 11 months in the mid-2000s for tax fraud. Jenna Ryan, a participant in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, spent 60 days there. Michelle Janavs, the daughter of the Hot Pockets co-founder, was sentenced to five months in prison in connection with the Operation College Blues college admissions scandal.

In 2017, three prisoners escaped from FPC Bryan. One of the inmates, Edith Lara, is serving time for a drug offense and has not yet been located, according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

anne mulligan Reporting from Bryan, Texas.

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