Elizabeth Holmes: Disgraced Theranos founder delays going to jail after winning appeal | Business News

Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced tech billionaire convicted of fraud, has avoided starting her 11-year jail term on Thursday after a judge backed her appeal to delay it.

Holmes, 39, who founded Theranos, was sentenced to 11 years and three months after being found guilty of three counts of investor fraud and one count of conspiracy in November, following a four-month trial.

Theranos, a Silicon Valley sensation, promised to test for dozens of diseases from a single blood test, but was found to have flawed technology.

Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, former president and chief operating officer (COO) of Theranos and ex-boyfriend of founder Elizabeth Holmes, leaves after the opening day of his federal trial for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud was postponed due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) exposure in the courtroom in San Jose, California, U.S. March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Brittany Hosea-Small
Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani was sentenced to 13 years

Holmes, and her former partner and subordinate, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, were accused of fleecing investors who backed the company to the tune of nearly $1bn (£803m), at the same time as endangering patients’ health.

Balwani, 57, is serving a nearly 13-year prison sentence after being convicted of 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy.

A judge in San Francisco upheld Holmes’s lawyers’ appeal against a lower court’s decision on Wednesday to deny her release while she appeals her original fraud conviction.

Earlier this month, Judge Edward Davila rejected an appeal for her to be released pending further appeals and told her to report to a minimum-security prison near Houston on Thursday.

Read more:
Theranos founder appeals against ‘unjust’ conviction
How Elizabeth Holmes went from Silicon Valley darling to disgrace

But late on Tuesday, Holmes’s lawyers filed an appeal, saying that decision contained “numerous, inexplicable errors” including references to “patient fraud convictions”, even though the jury acquitted Holmes on those counts, Sky’s US partner, NBC News, said.

Holmes was sentenced in November for what prosecutors called “among the most substantial white collar offences Silicon Valley or any other district has seen”.

Amanda Seyfried as Holmes in The Dropout: Pic Disney+
Amanda Seyfried as Holmes in The Dropout. Pic: Disney+

She became America’s youngest-ever self-made female billionaire by 2014, but after the tech was exposed as bogus, the company – once valued at $9bn (£7.3bn) – quickly came crashing down.

Prosecutors have until 3 May to respond to Holmes’s latest motion, NBC News said.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives at the federal courthouse accompanied by members of her family and her partner Billy Evans, to ask a U.S. judge at a hearing to pause her prison sentence of more than 11 years while she urges an appeals court to review her conviction on charges of defrauding investors in the blood testing startup at the federal courthouse in San Jose, California, U.S., March 17, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Holmes outside court with family and friends, including partner Billy Evans

Holmes’s term will begin around 20 years after she dropped out of Stanford to found Theranos, inspired by the successes of Silicon Valley heavyweights like Apple boss Steve Jobs.

She has two children, both fathered by her current partner, William “Billy” Evans, who she met after breaking up with Balwani.

Her astonishing rise and fall from history-making billionaire to the brink of jail has inspired documentaries, podcasts, and an award-winning TV drama – The Dropout – starring Amanda Seyfried as Holmes.