Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

Once considered the youngest female homemade billionaire and an emblem of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, Elizabeth Holmes is likely to spend the next few years in a soft minimum-security prison camp with access to activities such as crafts or tennis, and no perimeter fence not.

Stanford University, 37, was convicted on Monday of a massive fraud at Theranos Inc., the blood test company she founded, and has been facing bars for as long as 20 years. But jail advisers and legal experts say Holmes could serve as little as three years at one of the federal penitentiary’s less restrictive facilities for nonviolent white-collar criminals. She is likely to appeal her conviction and could spend even less time in jail if she triumphs.

Holmes could be sent to a women’s prison camp in Dublin, California, where actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin served sentences for their roles in a college admissions fraud scandal, and newspaper heiress Patty Hearst spent time in the late 1970s. for bank robbery. Holmes could also end up with a similar lock at Victorville, in the southern part of the state. One of the two will be less restrictive than the medium-security facility that British social MP Ghislaine Maxwell is likely to face after her conviction last week on charges of sex trafficking.

“Her time will be marked by boredom, noisy prisoners and staff, and just monotony,” said prison consultant Christopher Zoukis about the former Theranos chief.

Holmes will be surrounded by other women serving time for non-violent crimes such as drug dealing or money laundering, and the facility is relatively safe for inmates because physical conflicts are rare. Holmes “will have some notoriety for her crime, but I do not think she’s going to have a target on her back,” Zoukis said.

For now, Holmes is free on mortgage and her sentencing date has not been scheduled.

If Holmes, as expected, is sentenced to less than 10 years, she will be eligible for the minimum security camp in Dublin which has no fences or barbed wire to hold inmates. According to the facility’s captive handbook, it offers arts and hobby crafts such as needlepoint, knitting and crochet; sports such as table tennis, basketball and volleyball; and access to training “for non-traditional jobs such as car mechanics, electricians, plumbers, forklift operators, propane fillers and painters.”

A sentence of more than 10 years could put her in a neighboring low-security facility that allows inmates to spend time on sin decks and activities similar to the minimum security camp, according to the inmate handbook. In Victorville, recreational programs include pilates, spinning and murals.

‘Complete shock’

Still, “it’s going to be a total shock to her system,” said jail consultant Holli Coulman, who served 13 months at Victorville after pleading guilty in 2014 to fraud while working at Hewlett Packard Inc.

When Coulman was locked up, she said the yoga class material was only available on outdated videotapes, and the buildings are “freezing cold, no matter where you go.” Prisoners will “scream” at Holmes, and staff members who may be offended by her former status and wealth will “bark commands,” she said.

Another complication could be the recent increase in Covid-19 cases, which has forced U.S. prisons to reduce family visits and community activities, including food in bags instead of hot meals served in dining halls.

“They get peanut butter and jelly and baloney sandwiches every day – over, and over, and over,” Coulman said.


For Holmes, who had a baby in July with her partner Billy Evans, the son of wealthy California hoteliers, incarceration can be much shorter than the maximum sentence allowed, said Robert Weisberg, a criminal law professor at Stanford Law School. said.

Because Holmes has no criminal record, it would be a surprise if she gets more than three years, Weisberg said. And some of her sentence could be converted into probation or house arrest, leaving her in as little as two years in the federal jail, he said. Wire fraud convictions average about two years, he said.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, who oversaw the three-month trial of the Theranos founder, has a lot of flexibility in sentencing. He may think Holmes is a new mother and how remorseful she is about the crime, Weisberg said.

In prison, the accommodation for the former billionaire will be simple and communal. Coulman said she was housed in one of many cubicles formed by high chimney blocks along long rows of concrete walls. Each hockey has a bunk bed for two inmates, who each get a chair and locker, Coulman said.

Holmes is no stranger to a disciplined life, according to documents presented during her trial. Her handwritten notes from 2005 to 2009 describe a daily routine of waking up at 4am, meditating, and then grazing and eating a banana for breakfast.

‘Second Law’

This suggests that she is likely to be a model prisoner, and is likely to “start figuring out pretty soon what her second or third act might be,” Weisberg said. “She will experience confinement methodically, just as she experiences everything.”

Once she is released, Holmes is banned from serving as a civil servant in a public company for a decade under her 2018 settlement of a civil lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which accused her of it. that she misled investors.

But other convicted drivers have managed to rebuild their lives after jail.

Martha Stewart, the home-made entrepreneur, resumed marketing her branded products after serving a five-month prison sentence for a 2004 conviction for lying to authorities investigating her stock sales. One-time junk king Michael Milken, who pleaded guilty to securities and tax crimes in 1990, has become a philanthropist and runs his own think tank, the Milken Institute. Jeff Skilling, former CEO of Enron Corp., who was convicted in 2006 of security fraud and insider trading, was reportedly back in the energy world this year to run an energy business.

(Updates to Holmes are likely to appeal her conviction.)

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