It’s been four years since the unforgettable Summer of Scam. First, there was Anna Delvey aka Anna Sorokin, who was posed as a German heiress to trick New York’s most important—and wealthiest—people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then there was Elizabeth Holmes, original #GirlBoss icon and former big-time Silicon Valley techpreneur, who duped investors while wearing her signature black turtleneck.
Like Delvey, whose story was dramatized in Inventing Anna, Holmes is getting the Hollywood treatment. Oscar nominee Amanda Seyfried stars as Holmes in The Dropout, now available to stream on Hulu, and even earned an Emmy nomination for her portrayal. According to Hulu, the series explores “what caused the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, once heralded as ‘the next Steve Jobs,’ to lose everything in the blink of an eye.”
In January 2022, Holmes was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by misleading investors. She now awaits sentencing. So how did she get here? The Theranos saga is twisty one. Here’s everything you need to know.
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Who is Elizabeth Holmes?
In 2014, Elizabeth Holmes—then a 30-year-old billionaire entrepreneur—was making history as a bonafide Silicon Valley #GirlBoss. She had dropped out of Stanford at the age of 19, founded a revolutionary biotech company, and landed her first major magazine cover at Fortune. Fitting, given that her blood-testing company Theranos was valued at $9 billion. Some early backers included U.S. Treasury Secretary George Schultz, Rupert Murdoch, and the Walton family.
But by 2016, people began to question Holmes. The Theranos technology simply didn’t work, and Holmes was thought to have lied about her business operations to make money. In 2018, Theranos had all but completely collapsed—and Holmes was deemed a Silicon Valley scammer.
What was Elizabeth Holmes charged with?
In 2018, Elizabeth Holmes and her former Theranos business partner (and ex-boyfriend) Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, were charged with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. (Balwani will be played by Naveen Andrews in The Dropout.) An indictment accused the two of plotting to “scheme, plan and artifice to defraud investors as to a material matter,” according to The New York Times.
Has Elizabeth Holmes been sentenced?
On January 3, 2022, Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by misleading investors. A jury found Holmes not guilty on four other charges connected to fraud. According to NPR, the jury could not reach a decision on three other counts tied to investor fraud.
Holmes now awaits sentencing. According to The New York Times, Holmes faces major prison time:
“Each count of wire fraud carries up to 20 years in prison, though Ms. Holmes is unlikely to receive the maximum sentence because she has no prior convictions, said Neama Rahmani, the president of the West Coast Trial Lawyers and a former federal prosecutor. But he said her sentence was likely to be on the higher end because of the amount of the money involved. Ms. Holmes raised $945 million for Theranos during the start-up’s lifetime and those investments were ultimately wiped out.”
Who is Elizabeth Holmes married to?
Elizabeth Holmes is married to hotel heir Billy Evans. They reportedly tied the knot in 2019 and first met at a party back in 2017. The news first came to light when someone close to the couple leaked the news to a podcast. On an episode of Inside the Hive With Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton (who covers Silicon Valley) said, “I heard that no Theranos people were invited, which is interesting because she’s still friendly with some of her Theranos folks.”
A few rumors about the relationship have circulated amongst ex-Theranos employees. “She doesn’t have any money… he [Billy Evans] is a trust fund baby and has a lot of money, and he is probably helping out with the legal bills, because Elizabeth’s family doesn’t have money either,” Bilton said on the podcast. He added: “Holmes is gong to get pregnant before she gets on the stand because she will look very sympathetic as a pregnant woman on the stand.”
Bilton should add seer to his resume. In August 2021, it was reported that Holmes and Evans gave birth to their first child William Holmes Evans in California. Holmes had first informed the court of her pregnancy in March 2021, according to ABC, which delayed her trial.
Where is Elizabeth Holmes now?
Holmes remains free on a $500,000 bond while she waits to be sentenced in mid-October. It was reported last year that Holmes has been living in a 74-acre, $135 million mansion in Woodside, California, which is one of the wealthier towns in Silicon Valley. According to CNBC, the property is called “Green Gables,” and it “evokes the image of an enchanted forest with deer running through the property.”
Meanwhile, Holmes is reportedly onto her next venture. Vanity Fair reported in 2019 that she has met with documentary filmmakers to talk about telling her “real” story.
She is also asking for a new trial after claiming that a key witness came to her house unannounced and allegedly said he felt “guilty” about his testimony, CNN reported on Sept. 6. According to a court filing made by Holmes’ attorneys, Adam Rosendorff—a former Theranos lab director and a whistleblower in The Wall Street Journal‘s 2015 investigation into the company—visited Holmes’ home on Aug. 8 and spoke to her husband. Holmes’ lawyers say the impromptu visit counts as new evidence and are requesting a new trial.
How do I watch The Dropout?
The entire series is now streaming exclusively on Hulu. You can watch here. ⠀
This story has been updated.
Rose is a Senior Editor at ELLE overseeing features and projects about women’s issues. She is an accomplished and compassionate storyteller and editor who excels in obtaining exclusive interviews and unearthing compelling features.