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Elizabeth Holmes to begin 11-year prison sentence

Elizabeth Holmes must begin her more than 11-year prison sentence on 27 April after a federal judge denied the disgraced Theranos founder’s request to remain free while she appeals her conviction.

Holmes, who was convicted on four counts of fraud and conspiracy related to the failed blood-testing startup in January 2022, is “not likely to flee or pose a danger” to the public, US district court judge Edward Davila wrote in his ruling. However, the San Jose-based judge found that her appeal was unlikely to result in a reversal of the verdict or a new trial – a requirement for a defendant to remain free post-conviction.

Holmes had accompanied her lawyers to a San Jose, California, courtroom on March 17 to try to convince Davila that various missteps by federal prosecutors, and the omission of key evidence, will culminate in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals exonerating her.

Holmes’ prison sentence is scheduled to start roughly 20 years after she 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.

Davila said that even if the Ninth Circuit agrees with Holmes that he and the jury erred in their evidentiary rulings, “the mere fact that a purported error touched upon the accuracy or reliability of Theranos technology is not likely to support a finding that the jury’s verdict was materially affected, especially where the government had presented evidence of other misrepresentations unrelated to Theranos’s accuracy and reliability.”

He continued: “The court finds that a contrary appellate decision is not likely to require reversal or new trials on all investor fraud convictions and the conspiracy conviction," the judge said. "Contrary to her suggestion that accuracy and reliability were central issues to her convictions, Ms. Holmes’s misrepresentations to Theranos investors involved more than just whether Theranos technology 'work[ed] as promised.'"

Holmes must surrender to authorities before the end of April to begin her prison sentence.


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