Disgraced Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Ordered to Report to Prison by May 30

Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of blood-testing startup Theranos, has been ordered to report to prison by May 30, after her last-minute attempt to delay her sentence was denied by an appeals court. Holmes was convicted in January of four counts of defrauding investors but not patients, and was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison.[0] The appeals court denied her request for bail while she appealed her conviction, as they found her appeal didn’t raise substantial questions of law or fact in her case.[1] Holmes’ lawyers had argued that the guilty verdict resulted from “prejudicial errors” that warranted a new trial.[2]

Holmes’ former lover and top Theranos lieutenant, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, was also convicted of defrauding investors and was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison.[0] The two have been jointly ordered to pay more than $450 million in restitution to their victims.[3] This includes $125 million to media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who was one of Theranos’ biggest investors, and $40 million to Walgreens, which struck a deal with the company to use its technology in their stores.[4] The DeVos family’s firm, RDV Corp, will receive a $100 million payout.[5]

At Theranos’ peak, the company was valued at $9 billion, and Holmes was briefly the richest self-made woman in the world.[6] However, after a series of articles by the Wall Street Journal revealed the technology didn’t work as promised, the company unraveled.[0]

Holmes’ last-minute attempt to delay her sentence saw her begging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse Judge Edward Davila’s denial of her previous attempt to remain free on bail while appealing her conviction.[2] Davila had ordered her to report to prison on April 27, but her appeal triggered an automatic delay.[1] However, the appeals court dismissed her claims and ordered her to report to prison by May 30.

Holmes is expected to serve her time at a minimum-security prison camp 100 miles from Houston, but the Bureau of Prisons will make the final decision on her location.[7] Under federal law, she must serve at least 9.5 years of her sentence.[8] Holmes, who has a 1-year-old son and a 3-month-old daughter with her partner, Billy Evans, has not disclosed the location of the prison she has been assigned.

In a controversial long-form profile published by The New York Times last week, Holmes was portrayed through perhaps too sympathetic a lens, as a loving mother, a volunteer for a rape crisis hotline, and a survivor of alleged abuse from Balwani.[5] However, it also highlighted that Holmes ran a company that collected investments at a $10 billion valuation for tech that didn’t actually exist.[5]

0. “Elizabeth Holmes must start prison term May 30, court rules” CBS News, 17 May. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/elizabeth-holmes-prison-term-starts-may-30/

1. “Elizabeth Holmes’ no good, very bad day: Bail denied and a bill for $452 million” Ars Technica, 17 May. 2023, https://arstechnica.com/health/2023/05/holmes-will-go-to-prison-may-30-and-is-on-the-hook-for-up-to-452-million

2. “Elizabeth Holmes is going to prison – with a $500m bill” The Register, 17 May. 2023, https://www.theregister.com/2023/05/17/elizabeth_holmes_prison/

3. “Elizabeth Holmes ordered to pay $452M in restitution with ex Balwani” Business Insider, 17 May. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/theranos-elizabeth-holmes-sunny-balwani-millions-restitution-rupert-murdoch-2023-5

4. “Murdoch gets largest chunk of Theranos’ $452 million bill” Quartz, 19 May. 2023, https://qz.com/elizabeth-holmes-restitutions-theranos-rupert-murdoch-1850444256

5. “Time’s up for Elizabeth Holmes” TechCrunch, 18 May. 2023, https://techcrunch.com/2023/05/17/elizabeth-holmes-prison-restitution

6. “Appeals court denies Elizabeth Holmes’ request to stay out of prison” Yahoo Finance Australia, 17 May. 2023, https://au.finance.yahoo.com/amphtml/news/appeals-court-denies-elizabeth-holmes-request-to-stay-out-of-prison-113457150.html

7. “Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes ordered to report to prison May 30” Fox Business, 17 May. 2023, https://www.foxbusiness.com/business-leaders/theranos-founder-elizabeth-holmes-ordered-report-prison-may-30

8. “Elizabeth Holmes ordered to pay massive restitution over fraud, go to prison May 30” The Mercury News, 17 May. 2023, https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/05/17/elizabeth-holmes-ordered-to-pay-massive-restitution-over-fraud