Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes to go to prison end of April

Theranos founder Elizabeth HolmesGetty Images

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will report to prison at the end of the month after losing a bid to remain free while she appeals against her convictions.

Holmes was sentenced to over 11 years in prison for defrauding investors in her blood testing start-up.

A federal judge on Monday said Holmes failed to prove her appeals process would lead to a reversal of her case.

She is scheduled to go to prison on 27 April.

Holmes had said she would raise “substantial questions” that could warrant a new trial. Her attorneys also argued she should remain free to care for her two young children, including one who was born this year.

But in the Monday ruling, US District Judge Edward Davila said Holmes had not proven her appeal would result in a new trial.

“Contrary to her suggestion that accuracy and reliability were central issues to her convictions, Ms Holmes’s misrepresentations to Theranos investors involved more than just whether Theranos technology worked as promised,” he said.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, had argued Holmes was a flight risk because she had booked a one-way plane ticket to Mexico during her trial.

Homes’ attorneys said she and her partner Billy Evans were planning to attend a wedding and hoped she would be acquitted.

The ticket purchase was “ill-advised”, Judge Davila wrote in his ruling, though he added it did not constitute an attempt to flee.

“Booking international travel plans for a criminal defendant in anticipation of a complete defence victory is a bold move, and the failure to promptly cancel those plans after a guilty verdict is a perilously careless oversight,” he said.

Holmes was once hailed as the “next Steve Jobs” and said to be the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

She launched Theranos after dropping out of Stanford University, but the start-up fell apart in 2018 after it was revealed its technology did not work. The blood-testing device was purported to be able to run a multitude of tests from just a few drops of blood.

The company’s infamous downfall was chronicled in a TV series, an HBO documentary and a podcast.

Holmes, who was found guilty of four counts of fraud last January, told the court at the time she felt “deep pain” for those misled by the scam.

She is expected to make one more bid to remain free during the appeals process – which could take at least a year – to a San Francisco-based court that she has asked to overturn her conviction.

The BBC has reached out to Holmes’ attorneys for comment.

Holmes’ former business partner, Sunny Balwani, was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison for fraud last year.


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