Elizabeth Holmes, who started the now-defunct blood-testing company Theranos, failed in her attempt to stay out of jail while she waits for her fraud and conspiracy trial. Holmes asked that her trial be put off until March 2022, saying that she needed more time to read through millions of pages of documents.
But the judge turned down her request and said that the trial would go on as planned in July 2021. Holmes was once called a Silicon Valley visionary and the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. This latest news is a big blow to her reputation.
Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes Loses Bid to Stay Out of Prison
Disgraced Elizabeth Holmes, the CEO of Theranos, has failed in her bid to avoid going to jail while she appeals her conviction for the fraud she committed while in charge of a blood-testing scam that exposed Silicon Valley’s shadowy side.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila determined in an 11-page ruling late Monday that there wasn’t enough evidence to release Holmes on bail while her attorneys work to convince an appeals court that alleged misconduct during her four-month trial led to an unfair verdict.
Holmes, 39, will have to turn himself into the police on April 27 as a result of the judge’s ruling in order to begin serving the more than 11-year prison term that Davila imposed in November. Ten months prior, a jury had found her guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy against Thearanos investors who had put their faith in her claims that she would revolutionize the healthcare sector.
On March 17, Holmes traveled with her attorneys to a courtroom in San Jose, California, to try to persuade Davila that a series of errors made by federal prosecutors and the omission of crucial evidence will result in the exoneration of Holmes by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Approximately 20 years after leaving Stanford University at the age of 19 to found Theranos in Palo Alto, California—the same city where William Hewlett and David Packard started a company bearing their names in a small garage and laid the foundation for what would become Silicon Valley—Holmes is set to begin serving a prison sentence.
Holmes could still appeal Davila’s most recent decision, a strategy her Theranos co-conspirator Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani used to successfully postpone his scheduled March 16 start date for a nearly 13-year prison sentence. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed that appeal last week, and Balwani will now be required to report to a prison in Southern California on April 20.
Holmes should serve her prison term in a Bryan, Texas, facility, according to Davila. If that is the place she reports, it has not yet been made publicly known. Holmes will be separated from the two children she had prior to the trial and following her conviction unless she can figure out a way to remain free.
In September 2021, just before the start of her trial, she gave birth to a boy. The youngest child was born sometime after her sentencing in November; the gender has not been made clear in court documents. Both were born through her relationship with William “Billy” Evans, who she met after splitting from Balwani during the collapse of Theranos.
The refusal of Holmes’ request to stay free is the most recent development in a protracted saga that has already been the subject of a well-regarded HBO documentary and a prestigious Hulu TV series. Holmes and Balwani were charged with essentially the same crimes related to a scheme to promote Theranos’ blood-testing system as a medical innovation, despite the fact that they went through separate legal processes.
The company raised almost $1 billion from investors as a result of the claims, and Holmes has once been credited with a $4.5 billion fortune thanks to her 50% ownership in Theranos. Holmes also used the buzz surrounding Theranos to secure speaking engagements alongside former president Bill Clinton and laudatory front-page articles in trade journals that compared her to tech trailblazers like Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
The scandalous collapse of Theranos and the criminal case that followed put the spotlight squarely on Silicon Valley’s hubris and greed. However, Theranos’ technology never came close to working as Holmes and Balwani boasted.