Elizabeth Holmes delays start of prison sentence with last-minute appeal

The disgraced Theranos founder, Elizabeth Holmes will remain a little free longer as she has delayed the start of her 11-year prison sentence after lodging another appeal. She was expected to report to prison on Thursday, but the court considered her last-minute appeal.

Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced last November after she was convicted a few months earlier on some charges. 39-year-old Holmes was convicted on four counts of fraud linked to her failed blood testing start-up in January 2022.

She was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison by U.S. District Judge, Edward Davila. Earlier this month, Holmes filed a motion to stay out of prison but the judge denied the motion. Edward Davila ordered Holmes to start serving her imprisonment on Thursday, April 27.

But, with the new appeal that she filed on Tuesday night, Holmes is challenging Judge Edward’s ruling asserting she should be able to remain free pending appeal. She stated that the appeal is ”likely to result in a reversal”. As a result, Holmes can remain free on bail while the latest appeal is considered by the court due to the rule within the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the appeal, Holmes’ attorneys state that her conviction happened as a result of ”prejudicial errors that warrant reversal and a fresh trial”. They argued that Judge Edward’s denial of her release pending appeal ”reflects numerous, inexplicable errors. Also, they argued that there are errors in the ”patients fraud convictions” of which Holmes is acquitted. Now, the government has ten days to respond to the motion.

At the age of 19, Holmes dropped out of Standford to focus full-time on Theranos. What actually is Theranos? So, Theranos is a health tech start-up that claimed to have invented a technology that could use a few drops of blood and accurately test for a range of health conditions. The company raised a huge $945 million from many renowned investors and was valued at around $9 billion at its peak. This made Holmes a billionaire on paper.

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However, her company began to unfold after a Wall Street Journal Investigation in 2015 reported some shocking facts. They revealed that Theranos had just performed a dozen of hundreds of tests using its proprietary technology. Even the accuracy of the tests that it offered was questionable according to the investigation. Additionally, rather than its own technology, Theranos was relying on third-party manufactured devices from traditional blood testing companies.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Holmes’ ex-boyfriend and former Theranos COO Ramesh ”Sunny” Balwani was also convicted of fraud in a separate trial. Balwani reported to prison on April 20 after being denied his motion for release pending appeal by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals within three weeks. Originally, the court ordered Balwani to report on March 16 but like Holmes, his legal team also delayed the start of the prison sentence by around a month using the same legal maneuver.

Elizabeth Holmes and her ex-partner, Ramesh Balwani
Elizabeth Holmes and her ex-partner, Ramesh Balwani

Finally, Balwani, who was convicted in July 2022, is set to serve 13 years at Terminal Island Prison, a minimum security facility in San Pedro, California.

If Holmes’ appeal is unsuccessful, the US District Court of California has recommended the mother of two serve her time at a federal prison camp in Bryan, Texas, that allows for family visits. However, her final conviction destination is not confirmed.

Elizabeth Holmes, who was found guilty of four counts of fraud last January, told the court that she felt ”deep pain” for those who were misled.

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