Elizabeth Holmes’ attempt to delay prison sentence denied by judge


(NEW YORK) — A federal judge has denied an effort by disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to delay the start of her prison sentence, set to begin later this month, while she awaits an appeal ruling.

Holmes does not pose a flight risk but she failed to raise a “‘substantial question of law or fact’ that is ‘likely to result in a reversal or an order for a new trial on all counts,"” Edward Davila, the district court judge who presided over her trial, wrote in the decision.

The prison sentence for Holmes is set to begin on April 27.

Davila rejected a similar delay request last month from Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former romantic partner of Holmes as well as chief operating officer and president of Theranos, who was originally set to enter incarceration on March 16 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Balwani faces a nearly 13-year sentence after being convicted of 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy. An appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals kept Balwani from surrendering in March but that appeal has since been denied and Balwani must report to California’s Terminal Island prison on April 20. Balwani had requested and was granted a change in prison location.

In November, Holmes was sentenced to 135 months, or 11 1/4 years, in prison. The sentence falls short of the maximum possible punishment for Holmes, who faced as many as 20 years in prison.

Holmes was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after the sentence.

In her motion to remain out of prison until an appeal ruling, Holmes challenged court findings regarding the accuracy and reliability of Theranos’ blood testing machines, as well as the court’s refusal to admit previous testimony from Balwani that he held primary responsibility for financial model estimates shown to prospective investors, among other claims.

Davila ruled that such challenges, even if granted, were unlikely to result in a reversal of the conviction or a new trial.

Holmes, 38, was convicted last January on four counts of investor fraud and conspiracy while at the helm of Theranos.

The verdict followed a four-month trial that detailed Holmes’ trajectory from a Stanford University dropout in 2003 to a star business leader on the cover of Fortune magazine a little more than a decade later.

Ultimately, her downfall began in 2015 amid investigations from journalists and regulators over the medical company’s faulty product, which claimed to provide accurate information from tests using just a few drops of blood.

A year later, as the company struggled, Forbes downgraded its assessment of Holmes’ net worth from $4.5 billion to $0.

Facing charges of massive fraud from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Holmes agreed to forfeit control of Theranos in 2018.

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