Federal regulators announced Friday that convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the defunct blood testing company Theranos, has been banned from participating in federal health programs for 90 years, effectively a lifetime ban.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) cited Holmes' 2022 conviction for fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud as the reason for her ban.
Holmes was sentenced to approximately 11 years in prison – starting in May 2023 – for lying to investors about the performance of her blood testing technology. That sentence was reduced by two years in July.
“The statutory minimum period for disqualification for convictions like Holmes’ is five years. If certain aggravating factors are present, a longer period of exclusion is warranted,” the OIG said in a statement. “The duration of Holmes’ disqualification is based on the application of several aggravating factors, including the duration of the offenses committed, the length of incarceration and the amount of compensation to be paid.”
OIG's exclusion from federal health care programs means Holmes is ineligible for benefits from programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. With a few exceptions, she also will not be able to work for an entity that receives federal health care funding.
Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, with whom Holmes had a relationship when they ran the company, had already been excluded from federal programs for 90 years.
“Accurate and reliable diagnostic testing technology is essential to our public health infrastructure,” HHS Inspector General Christi A. Grimm said in a statement. “False statements about the reliability of these medical devices can endanger the health of patients and sow distrust in our healthcare system.”
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