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Judge says Elizabeth Holmes must pay Rupert Murdoch $125 million

The payment is part of a broader $452 million restitution order connected to a criminal fraud case.

The payment is part of a broader $452 million restitution order connected to a criminal fraud case.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes appears at a Department of Defense event in 2013. (Photo by Glenn Fawcett)
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes appears at a Department of Defense event in 2013. (Photo by Glenn Fawcett)

Disgraced tech mogul Elizabeth Holmes and her business partner have been ordered to pay $125 million in restitution to Fox Corporation Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch in connection with a massive criminal fraud conspiracy that his newspaper exposed several years ago.

The payment is part of a broader $452 million restitution order imposed against Holmes and her business partner, Ramesh “Sunny Balwani,” who were convicted on multiple counts of criminal fraud after lying to Murdoch and other investors about her blood-testing startup Theranos.

In 2018, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Holmes and Balwani after the Wall Street Journal newspaper proved that the pair were misleading investors and the public about the scientific capabilities of Theranos. The company claimed it could test for a wide number of genetic issues, which was contradicted by employees who revealed numerous falsehoods perpetuated by the duo. In addition to Fox, Murdoch is also the executive chairman of News Corp, which owns the Wall Street Journal.

The restitution order came on the same day that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a Hail Mary attempt by Holmes’ defense attorneys to indefinitely stay her 11-year federal prison sentence. On Wednesday, a judge overseeing her criminal case ordered her to report to a women’s prison in Texas no later than May 30.

Under the rules of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Holmes will be required to work while she is in custody, and a portion of her earnings will be used to pay restitution to Murdoch and the other victims in her case. A portion of any money sent from family, friends and the public to her prison account will also be garnished to pay restitution to her victims.

The restitution order will severely restrict her comfort during whatever portion of her prison sentence she actually serves, since restitution payments made from her prison account will substantially reduce her spending money for things like hygiene items, snacks and music downloads.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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