Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes ordered to pay $125m back to Rupert Murdoch

Holmes and her former boyfriend, top Theranos executive Sunny Balwani, have been ordered to pay $452m in restitution

Bevan Hurley
Wednesday 17 May 2023 15:11 BST
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Elizabeth Holmes Loses Latest Bid to Avoid Prison and Gets Hit With $452 Million Restitution Bill

Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes has been ordered to repay Rupert Murdoch the entire $125m he invested in her failed blood-testing start-up, part of $452m to be paid in restitution to victims of the scam.

Holmes, 39, was also ordered by Judge Edward Davila to begin her 11-year sentence as she tries to overturn her conviction for fraud after a trial in San Jose, California, last year.

The mother of two had been due to report for prison on 27 April, but sought to delay beginning her prison sentence in a last-minute legal manoeuvre last month.

Holmes is jointly liable for the massive $452m restitution figure with her former boyfriend and Theranos executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who is already in prison after being convicted in a separate trial.

Judge Davila will now set a new date for Holmes to leave her San Diego home and report for prison, which is likely to be a women’s prison in Bryan, Texas.

Her imminent incarceration will separate her from her husband Billy Evans, and their two children William, 1, and 3-month-old daughter Invicta.

The decisions came in separate rulings issued late on Tuesday by Judge Davila, who also oversaw her trial and sentencing.

Elizabeth Holmes has been ordered to report for prison
Elizabeth Holmes has been ordered to report for prison (Associated Press)

In an interview this month with The New York Times, Holmes said she was unable to pay her $30m in legal fees.

The restitution payment to Mr Murdoch, the embattled Fox Corporation chairman, was by far the largest ordered by Judge Davila.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal after her conviction, Mr Murdoch said being caught up in the scam was a “total embarrassment”.

Walmart, which invested $40m in the startup, is owed $40m, and Safeway is due to receive $14.5m.

At her sentencing in November, prosecutors said Holmes had “preyed on hopes of her investors that a young, dynamic entrepreneur had changed healthcare”.

They added that she he had “leveraged the credibility of her illustrious board” to attain “spectacular fame, adoration, and billions of dollars of wealth.”

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