Elizabeth Holmes’ Prison Life a Drastic Lifestyle Shift From Theranos


  • Theranos’ founder, Elizabeth Holmes, is finally set to report to prison Tuesday.
  • After several delays, she’s expected to report to a federal prison in Texas by 2 p.m.
  • Once worth $4.5 billion, Holmes can expect a drastic change in lifestyle.

The Theranos founder turned convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes is set to bid adieu to her freedom and her estate home costing $13,000 a month as she commences an 11-year prison sentence.

Holmes, now 39, was found guilty in January 2022 of four of 11 fraud and conspiracy charges relating to Theranos, her $9 billion healthtech startup that collapsed after the reporter John Carreyrou revealed its core blood-testing tech didn’t work. The revelations triggered regulatory investigations and a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The disgraced entrepreneur has managed to delay reporting to prison by appealing her conviction and then appealing judge denials. She’s expected to begin her sentence at a federal prison camp for women in Bryan, Texas, after losing her most recent appeal.

If she does, then Tuesday would mark Holmes’ complete fall from grace. Once crowned America’s youngest self-made female billionaire — with a reported net worth of $4.5 billion — Holmes is now a cautionary tale in Silicon Valley mythmaking.

Per firsthand descriptions published by The Wall Street Journal and an inmate handbook for the Bryan facility, her life is set to look quite different under lock and key.

A new, restricting life

Elizabeth Holmes and Billy Evans in 2023.

Holmes and Billy Evans, her partner, in 2023.

Philip Pacheco/Getty Images

Throughout her trial, Holmes was said to have lived on the grounds of a 74-acre estate in Woodside — one of the wealthiest parts of Silicon Valley. The total estate was listed for sale for $135 million in September 2021, according to CNBC. It isn’t clear whether the home Holmes occupied there is the same as the estate mentioned recently by prosecutors contesting her appeal.

Before Theranos collapsed, Holmes would usually dine at expensive restaurants and go on shopping sprees, according to emails cited by prosecutors during her trial.

Even as she counted down the days to being behind bars, Holmes enjoyed strolling on the beach and taking her two children, both under 3 years old, to the San Diego Zoo, according to a recent profile published in The New York Times.

Starting Tuesday, Holmes can expect to stay in a cell that is likely the size of a restroom at her $13,000-a-month home, according to a sketch published by the Journal based on descriptions from people who had served time at the Bryan prison. Cells at Bryan have open entryways without doors, per the drawing, and Holmes may live with as many as three other prisoners.

She can expect to be woken at 6 a.m. daily and would have to make her own bed, clean her cell by mopping the floors and taking out the trash — or risk being disciplined, according to the inmate handbook.

Officers will also conduct at least five headcounts a day — and all prisoners must be seen at all of them.

Holmes wouldn’t be able to walk freely about the prison camp, and her timetable would be strictly controlled. The biotech entrepreneur would also have limited access to technology: At Bryan she’d be able to own an MP3, a radio, or a watch — but not all at the same time.

People imprisoned at Bryan do have access to business classes, and they’re required to hold a job for at least 90 days with a wage of at least $0.12 an hour. Holmes is thinking bigger, telling the Times that she’s planning on working on another biotech startup during her time in prison and has new ideas for COVID-19 testing.

A lawyer for Holmes didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.


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