Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes avoided reporting to prison for at least an extra month on Thursday to serve her 11-year sentence after a court approved her last-minute appeal earlier this week.
Holmes — who ran the fraudulent biotechnology company — was expected to report to Federal Prison Camp at Bryan, Texas, on April 27 after a court convicted her on four counts of fraud last year for defrauding investors into believing she had revolutionized blood testing. Defense attorneys described the federal prison as “heaven” compared to others.
“Ms. Holmes was on bail at the time the motion was filed,” according to court documents. “Therefore, that bail automatically remains in effect until the Ninth Circuit has ruled on her motion.”
Holmes asked U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila to allow her to remain free while she appealed the conviction, arguing based on the evidence presented during trial.
Davila ruled earlier this month that the part of the conviction Holmes is appealing will probably not be overturned.
Davila did say in his ruling that he didn’t believe Holmes was a flight risk, even though federal prosecutors revealed earlier this year that Holmes and her husband purchased one-way tickets to Mexico in January 2022 — the same month she was convicted. The tickets were canceled only after the defense counsel was notified.
“Whether the jury heard more or less evidence that tended to show the accuracy and reliability of Theranos technology does not diminish the evidence the jury heard of other misrepresentations Ms. Holmes made to investors,” Davila ruled.
As an entrepreneur, Holmes attracted prominent political and business leaders to back her firm — including former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Defense Secretary James Mattis. Holmes also had close ties to the Clinton family and hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
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During her trial, Holmes’ legal team argued that “she was merely a young, naïve, ambitious founder who relied too much on others who gave her bad advice,” claiming she lacked experience.
Holmes also attempted to accuse her ex-boyfriend and Theranos’ ex-president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of abuse. Text messages between the two, however, seemed to depict a loving relationship.
The Associated Press reported that Balwani turned himself in on April 20 in San Pedro, California, after attempting to appeal his 13-year sentence.
Since her court proceedings began, Holmes has given birth to two children with her partner William Evans.
Judge Davila recommended Holmes serve at the prison camp in his filing because “the Court finds that family visitation enhances rehabilitation.”
The Department of Justice had requested that the disgraced Theranos founder receive 15 years in prison and pay $800 million in restitution to investors like software magnate Larry Ellison and Walmart founders the Walton family.
Ashe Schow contributed to this article.