Convicted Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has appealed for “leniency” in the form of an 18-month home sentence as she awaits sentencing next week, reports say.
An 82-page filing seen by The Associated Press and Bloomberg reportedly shows that she asked for a lenient sentence under house arrest, which came alongside more than 130 letters from Holmes’ friends, family, Theranos investors and former employees, who lawyers said showcased “the real Elizabeth Holmes.”
Lawyers for Holmes, who was convicted in January on multiple fraud charges, told US District Judge Edward Davila that sending her to prison was unnecessary after being stigmatized by intense media coverage that had turned her into a “caricature to be mocked and vilified,” The AP reported.
“We acknowledge that this may seem a tall order given the public perception of this case – especially when Ms. Holmes is viewed as the caricature, not the person,” the filing said, per the news agency.
Prosecutors are expected to pursue a much harsher sentence for Holmes, who faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the four counts on which she was convicted, when her sentencing trial begins on November 18. Holmes was denied three requests for a retrial following her conviction.
Holmes shot to fame after dropping out of Stanford at 19 to found the blood monitoring health tech company, which once attracted a $9 billion valuation.
Theranos came crumbling down after the Food and Drug Administration began investigating reports of “major inaccuracies” in the company’s testing, reinforced by a 2015 report by Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou highlighting its difficulties with the technology.
Holmes was convicted on four counts of fraud-related charges linked to investments made by hedge fund manager Brian Grossman, the DeVos family, and the former Cravath attorney Daniel Mosley, with the jury failing to reach a verdict on three other charges.
Sunny Balwani, her former partner, was separately convicted in July on all 12 counts of investor and patient fraud with which he was originally charged.