How Much Prison Time Could Elizabeth Holmes Face? | #College. | #Students


The guilty verdicts against Elizabeth Holmes mean the Theranos founder could be going to prison for years.

Sentencing is a complex and time-consuming process, and many steps still stand between Ms. Holmes and any potential prison time.

She likely will be allowed to stay free on bail until her sentencing, which could take place six months or more from now, sentencing experts said.

The first step is having a probation officer look through the facts of the case and put together a detailed pre-sentence report. This has to be provided to each side at least 45 days ahead of the sentencing hearing.

The report will analyze what sentence seems appropriate under nonbinding federal guidelines, which include factors such as criminal history, the amount of money lost, whether someone was a leader or low-level participant in a crime and whether any special skills were used to commit the crime. “It gets really complicated in a hurry,” said Douglas Berman, a professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law who wrote a casebook on sentencing law.

Ms. Holmes’s lawyers and the government can then push back on that report, filing their own interpretations of the guidelines and what sentences they think Ms. Holmes deserves.

There is no mandatory minimum sentence for the conspiracy and wire fraud counts she was convicted of, and each count carries a maximum of 20 years. In some cases, like the 150-year sentence given to Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff, the maximum for each count is stacked. In most fraud cases, stacking isn’t the norm, Mr. Berman and others familiar with sentencing said.

The final decision rests with U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, who oversaw Ms. Holmes’s trial. Judges are guided to hand down a sentence that is “sufficient but not greater than necessary to achieve the purposes of punishment,” Mr. Berman said.

From there, Ms. Holmes can request to stay out on bail pending an appeal of her conviction. If a sentence is relatively short, like two years or less, defense lawyers can often succeed in keeping white-collar defendants out of jail during an appeal, Mr. Berman said. For longer sentences, he said, the argument is much harder to make.



Source link