It was a strange mixed verdict because those she was acquitted of defrauding needed more protection from the law than those she was convicted of defrauding.
This is not to deny that even these financial gamblers are entitled to legal protection against fraud, despite the well-known caution of caveat emptor. It is to question the proportionality of a double-digit sentence in the face of the acquittal on the far more serious charge.
A wealthy investor who loses a million dollars, representing one percent of his net worth, has lost less than a middle-class investor who loses $100,000, representing half of his assets. Yet the sentencing guidelines undervalue these realities. The irony is that Holmes might well have gotten a shorter sentence if she had been convicted only of the more serious crimes….
The guidelines give far too much weight to the quantity of financial losses, and too little to the qualitative realities of the risky investment world.
Elizabeth Holmes, the Silicon Valley wonderkid who founded and ran Theranos, the blood testing company, was sentenced last week to 11 years in prison. A jury acquitted her of the most serious charges related to defrauding government and military officials regarding the use of the Theranos device by soldiers. But it convicted her of defrauding highly sophisticated, experienced and mega-wealthy investors.
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Author: Ruth King
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