Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been charged with wire fraud — here's how much jail time she could face

  • Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and former Theranos president Sunny Balwani have been charged with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
  • The charges stem from allegations that the two engaged in a scheme to defraud investors and a separate scheme to defraud doctors and patients while at the blood-testing company, the Department of Justice said Friday.
  • The two face up to 20 years in jail, plus a maximum fine of about $2.75 million each. 

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and former Theranos president Sunny Balwani have been charged with wire fraud. 

On Friday, the Department of Justice charged the two with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, stemming from allegations that the two engaged in a scheme to defraud investors and a separate scheme to defraud doctors and patients while at the blood-testing company.

The DOJ said Friday that Holmes and Balwani could face up to 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine plus restitution for each count on which they're convicted. That means a maximum fine of about $2.75 million for each of them, should they be convicted on all counts. 

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Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, attends a panel discussion during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaks with Jonathan Krim, global technology editor at the Wall Street Journal, at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live (WSJDLive) conference at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California, October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake
FILE PHOTO: Theranos Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Holmes speaks on stage at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards where she receives an award, in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 05: (L-R) President of Baume & Mercier, Rudy Chavez presents the Under 30 Doers Award to Founder & CEO of Theranos Elizabeth Holmes during the Forbes Under 30 Summit at Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 5, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live (WSJDLive) conference at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California, October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 06: NBC News Special Anchor Maria Shriver (L) and Theranos Founder and C.E.O. Elizabeth Holmes speak onstage during 'True Blood�Diagnostics in the New Age' at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 05: Founder & CEO of Theranos Elizabeth Holmes attends the Forbes Under 30 Summit at Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 5, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
Billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, founder and chief executive officer of Theranos Inc., left, and Christian Holmes arrive at a state dinner hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama in honor of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe goes before the U.S. Congress on Wednesday to present Japan as a stalwart ally that's willing to play a bigger military role in Asia, a message likely to be embraced in Washington and greeted with suspicion in Seoul and Beijing. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, founder and chief executive officer of Theranos Inc., speaks during the 2015 Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. The forum gathers Global 500 CEO's and innovators, builders, and technologists from some of the most dynamic, emerging companies all over the world to facilitate relationship building at the highest levels. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Vice President Joe Biden, right, speaks as Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, left, listens during a visit to Theranos manufacturing in Newark, Calif., on Thursday, July 23, 2015. Biden toured the facility and took part in a roundtable discussion on preventive health care, innovation and the role of the private sector in expanding access. Theranos makes an inexpensive, less painful finger-prick system to draw blood for tests. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group/TNS via Getty Images)
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes arrives at the 3rd Annual Breakthrough Prize Award Ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center on November 8, 2015 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)
Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, speaks in front of Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, founder and chief executive officer of Theranos Inc., speaks to the media as she arrives at a state dinner hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama in honor of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe goes before the U.S. Congress on Wednesday to present Japan as a stalwart ally that's willing to play a bigger military role in Asia, a message likely to be embraced in Washington and greeted with suspicion in Seoul and Beijing. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 16: CEO & Founder of Theranos Elizabeth Holmes (L) and Partner at Egon Zehnder Martha Josephson attend the Women In Technology and Politics dinner hosted by Glamour and Facebook at The Battery on August 16, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for Glamour)
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (L) greets Jack Ma (R), executive chairman of Alibaba Group, and Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, founder and chief executive officer of Theranos Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Vanity Fair 2015 New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The summit assembles titans of technology, politics, business, and media for inventive programming and inspiring conversations around the ideas and innovations shaping the future. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Theranos Chairman, CEO and Founder Elizabeth Holmes (L) and TechCrunch Writer and Moderator Jonathan Shieber speak onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt at Pier 48 on September 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
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Theranos initially came under fire in 2015 over the accuracy of its blood tests. At one point, it was valued at $9 billion, but in recent months it has laid off most of its employees and is pleading with investors for more cash as it faces setbacks in the lab on its Zika test. In March, the SEC charged Holmes and Theranos with "massive fraud." The company and Theranos settled with the SEC, and as part of the settlement, Holmes paid a fine and cannot be a director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years.

Holmes stepped down as CEO of Theranos on Friday, though she remains chair of the board

Balwani, who employees saw as an "enforcer," left the company in May 2016 after working there for seven years. He has also been charged with "massive fraud" by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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SEE ALSO: Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is stepping down as CEO as she faces charges of wire fraud

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