Disgraced Theranos boss Elizabeth Holmes has been rebuffed in her attempt to stay out of federal prison while appealing against her conviction for the fraud she committed while overseeing a blood-testing scam that exposed Silicon Valley’s dark side.
In an 11-page ruling, US District Judge Edward Davila concluded there was not compelling enough evidence to allow Holmes to remain free on bail while her lawyers try to persuade an appeals court that alleged misconduct during her four-month trial led to an unjust verdict.
The judge’s decision means Holmes, 39, will have to surrender to authorities on April 27 to start the more than 11-year prison sentence Mr Davila imposed in November.
The punishment came 10 months after a jury found her guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy against the Thearanos investors who believed in her promises to revolutionise the health care industry.
Her prison sentence is scheduled to start roughly 20 years after Holmes dropped out of Stanford University when she was 19 years old to start Theranos in Palo Alto, California – the same city where William Hewlett and David Packard founded a company bearing their surnames in a small garage and planted the seeds of what grew into Silicon Valley.
Holmes could still file another appeal of the ruling Mr Davila’s latest ruling, a manoeuvre that her co-conspirator at Theranos – Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani – successfully used to delay his scheduled March 16 date to begin a nearly 13-year prison sentence.
But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week rejected that appeal and Balwani is now scheduled to report to a Southern California prison on April 20.
Mr Davila has recommended that Holmes serves her sentence in a Texas prison.
It has not yet been publicly confirmed if that will be the facility where she reports.
Her first child, a boy, was born shortly before her trial began in September 2021.
The youngest child, whose gender has not been disclosed in court documents, was born at some point after her November sentencing.
She conceived both with her current partner, William ‘Billy’ Evans, who she met after breaking up with Balwani in the midst of Theranos’s scandalous downfall.
The denial of Holmes’s request to remain free is the latest twist in a long-running saga that has already been the subject of an acclaimed HBO documentary and award-winning Hulu TV series.
Although they had separate trials, Holmes and Balwani were accused of essentially the same crimes centred on a ruse touting Theranos’s blood-testing system as a breakthrough in health care.
Holmes also parlayed the buzz surrounding Theranos to speaking engagements on the same stage as former US president Bill Clinton and glowing cover stories in business publication that likened her to tech visionaries such as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
But Theranos’s technology never came close to working like Holmes and Balwani boasted, resulting in the company’s scandalous collapse and a criminal case that shined a bright light on Silicon Valley greed and hubris.