Elizabeth Holmes, the once-celebrated founder of biotech firm Theranos, has been directed to fork over a staggering $452 million in restitution to the victims of the company’s high-profile fraud. Holmes is not shouldering this burden alone – her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who also served as Theranos’ former president and COO, is on the hook for the restitution as well.
The largest chunk of this enormous payback, a cool $125 million, is headed straight into the pockets of media titan Rupert Murdoch, effectively refunding him the full sum he had invested in Theranos. Next in line is the RDV Corporation, asset manager for the DeVos family, which includes Amway co-founder Richard DeVos and former US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. They’re set to recuperate nearly $100 million.
The list of financial beneficiaries doesn’t stop there. Richard Kovacevich, the former Wells Fargo CEO, will receive a refund of $4.1 million. Similarly, the Lucas Venture Group, connected with acclaimed Silicon Valley venture capitalist Don Lucas, is on deck to pocket over $7.5 million.
Even corporate entities such as Walgreens and Safeway, which once had partnerships with Theranos, are in for their share of the restitution. Walgreens is due $40 million, while Safeway is slated to get $14.5 million.
On top of the financial penalties, both Holmes and Balwani are set to serve time behind bars. Balwani commenced his nearly 13-year sentence in April, and Holmes has been ordered to report to prison by May 30.
With Holmes previously citing struggles with paying her legal fees, this multi-million dollar restitution presents an even more daunting financial challenge. Earlier this month, she expressed in a New York Times interview her fear that she’ll be “working for the rest of her life” just to cover these costs.
Her financial woes have already led to a fallout with her legal team. In 2019, three attorneys from the law firm Cooley sought to exit her case, citing over a year of unpaid fees and their doubts about her ability to pay for their services in light of her “current financial situation.”