Elizabeth Holmes Lost Her Bid To Stay Out Of Prison While She Appeals Her Conviction

The Theranos founder is due to report to prison later this month to begin an 11-year sentence.

Convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes must report to prison later this month to begin her sentence — even while she appeals her conviction, a federal judge has ruled.

In a decision filed late Monday, US District Judge Edward J. Davila said that while he doesn’t believe Holmes is a flight risk or a danger to the community, her appeal doesn’t raise any substantial questions of law or fact that would warrant her remaining free for the time being.

The judge had ordered Holmes, 39, to report to prison on April 27.

Holmes, who recently gave birth to her second child, had also argued that she should remain free in part to care for the newborn.

Attorneys for Holmes didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they planned to appeal.

Holmes’s coconspirator and former lover Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani was due to report to prison last month to begin his almost 13-year sentence after the same judge ruled against his plea to stay free while he, too, appeals his conviction.

But Balwani was able to temporarily avoid reporting to prison by filing another appeal of the judge’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He lost that appeal last week and must now report on April 20.

Holmes was convicted in January 2022 of defrauding investors about the blood-testing technology of her company, Theranos. She was subsequently sentenced in November to more than 11 years in prison.

Earlier this year, prosecutors said Holmes had booked a one-way flight to Mexico after her conviction in an apparent attempt to flee.

Her attorneys called that claim “baseless,” saying she had booked the trip with her husband prior to the verdict with the hope she would be found not guilty and be able to attend a wedding. 

Discussing the Mexico trip in his order on Monday, Davila said the booking had been ill-advised, but that he was satisfied it was not an attempt to flee.

“Booking international travel plans for a criminal defendant in anticipation of a complete defense victory is a bold move, and the failure to promptly cancel those plans after a guilty verdict is a perilously careless oversight,” Davila said. “Certainly, this incident has invited greater scrutiny of Ms. Holmes’s personal affairs and further speculation into her motivations. 

“However, after reviewing the counsels’ contemporary communications and immediate subsequent remediation, the Court accepts Ms. Holmes’s representation that the one-way flight ticket—while ill-advised—was not an attempt to flee the country,” Davila said.

Correction: Elizabeth Holmes's age was misstated in an earlier version of this post.

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