Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced CEO of Theranos, has been denied her request to remain free on bail while she appeals her conviction for fraud. The appeal is based on alleged misconduct during her trial, which Holmes and her lawyers claim led to an unjust verdict. However, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila concluded that there wasn’t compelling enough evidence to allow Holmes to stay out of federal prison. She will now have to surrender to authorities on April 27 to start the more than 11-year prison sentence imposed in November 2022.
Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford University to start Theranos, was found guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy against investors who believed in her promises to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Her conviction came after a jury trial that lasted four months. Despite her lawyers’ attempts to persuade the court that missteps by federal prosecutors and the omission of key evidence will lead to her exoneration on appeal, Judge Davila’s decision means she must now serve her sentence.
Holmes’ prison sentence is scheduled to start roughly 20 years after she started Theranos in Palo Alto, the same city where Silicon Valley was born. Her co-conspirator at Theranos, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, successfully used an appeal to delay his scheduled prison sentence, but that appeal was rejected last week. Balwani is now due to report to a Southern California prison on April 20.
Judge Davila has recommended that Holmes serve her sentence in a prison in Byron, Texas, but it hasn’t yet been confirmed if that will be the facility where she reports. Unless she can find a way to stay free, Holmes will be separated from her two children, born shortly before and after her trial and conviction, and will have to serve her sentence in prison.
Holmes and Balwani were accused of essentially the same crimes centered on a ruse touting Theranos’ blood-testing system as a breakthrough in health care. The claims helped the company become a Silicon Valley sensation that raised nearly $1 billion from investors and, at one point, anointed Holmes with a $4.5 billion fortune. However, the technology never worked as promised, resulting in the company’s collapse and a criminal case that shone a light on Silicon Valley’s greed and hubris.
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