Convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes sentence extended | tech news
Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of blood testing startup Theranos, avoided starting her 11-year sentence on Thursday.
Holmes’ attorneys on Wednesday informed U.S. District Judge Edward Davila that she will not report to jail as planned because she appealed a decision he issued earlier this month directing her to keep her sentence to begin on April 27.
The appeal, filed late Tuesday, automatically delayed Holmes’ reporting date. She has been out on bail since a jury found her guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy in January 2022.
It’s the same legal loophole that allowed her co-conspirator and former lover Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to stay in prison for another month.
Balwani, 57, is now serving a nearly 13-year sentence in a federal prison in California after being convicted on 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy.
The verdict followed a four-month trial that centered on her descent from a rising Silicon Valley star to an alleged con artist who chased fame and fortune while shying away from investors and endangering the health of patients who relied on Theranos’ flawed blood tests left.
She was visibly pregnant when she was sentenced to 11 years in prison in November. She had given birth to her first child with partner Billy Evans in July 2021 while on trial on fraud charges.
Although they had separate trials, Holmes and Balwani were charged with essentially the same crimes, centered on a ploy that touted Theranos’ blood testing system as a revolutionary breakthrough in healthcare. The claims helped the company become a Silicon Valley sensation, raising nearly $1 billion from investors.
Holmes last appeared in court about a month ago, shortly after she gave birth to her second child, to persuade Davila to allow her to remain free while she appeals her conviction. Davila, who berated Holmes for betraying Silicon Valley’s history of innovation when condemning her in November, subsequently denied that request.
The judge had recommended that Holmes be held in a low-security detention center in Bryan, Texas, but it has not been publicly announced whether she would serve her sentence there.
Holmes founded her Silicon Valley startup Theranos in 2003 after dropping out of Stanford University. She claimed to have invented a machine that performs dozens of tests using far less blood than standard tests.
The company attracted high-profile investors and was valued at $9 billion before it began to collapse in 2015.
Holmes, along with her ex-boyfriend and Theranos COO Sunny Balwani, was accused of fraud three years later after extensive reports revealed their machines could not perform most of the functions she claimed.
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