December 23, 2023

The guilty verdicts against Elizabeth Holmes mean the Theranos founder could be going to prison for years.

Sentencing is a complex and time-consuming process, and many steps still stand between Ms. Holmes and any potential prison time.

She likely will be allowed to stay free on bail until her sentencing, which could take place six months or more from now, sentencing experts said.

The first step is having a probation officer look through the facts of the case and put together a detailed pre-sentence report. This has to be provided to each side at least 45 days ahead of the sentencing hearing.

The report will analyze what sentence seems appropriate under nonbinding federal guidelines, which include factors such as criminal history, the amount of money lost, whether someone was a leader or low-level participant in a crime and whether any special skills were used to commit the crime. “It gets really complicated in a hurry,” said Douglas Berman, a professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law who wrote a casebook on sentencing law.

Ms. Holmes’s lawyers and the government can then push back on that report, filing their own interpretations of the guidelines and what sentences they think Ms. Holmes deserves.

There is no mandatory minimum sentence for the conspiracy and wire fraud counts she was convicted of, and each count carries a maximum of 20 years. In some cases, like the 150-year sentence given to Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff, the maximum for each…

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