Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes has lost her bid to remain free on bail while she appeals her conviction for fraud related to her involvement in a blood-testing scam that rocked Silicon Valley. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila rejected Holmes’ appeal, concluding that there was insufficient evidence to allow her to remain free on bail while her lawyers attempted to convince an appeals court that misconduct during her trial had led to an unjust verdict.
Holmes will have to report to authorities on April 27 to begin her more than 11-year prison sentence, which was imposed by Davila in November 2022 after a jury found her guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy against Theranos investors. The investors had believed in her promises to revolutionize the healthcare industry.
Holmes’ appeal in a San Jose, California courtroom on March 17, along with her lawyers’ arguments that federal prosecutors had committed missteps and omitted key evidence, failed to convince Davila to grant her bail. The judge’s decision means that Holmes will be separated from her two children, one born shortly before her trial began in September 2021 and the other after her November sentencing. She had conceived both children with her partner, William “Billy” Evans, whom she met after breaking up with her former Theranos co-conspirator Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani during the company’s downfall.
Holmes and Balwani had separately faced charges related to a ruse touting Theranos’ blood-testing system as a breakthrough in healthcare, which helped the company raise nearly $1 billion from investors and brought Holmes a $4.5 billion fortune based on her 50% stake in Theranos. The claims helped Theranos become a Silicon Valley sensation, and Holmes received speaking engagements on the same stage as former President Bill Clinton and glowing cover stories in business publications that likened her to tech visionaries such as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. However, Theranos’ technology never worked as advertised, leading to the company’s collapse and a criminal case that highlighted Silicon Valley’s greed and hubris.
Although Balwani used an appeal to delay his scheduled March 16 reporting date to a Southern California prison, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently rejected his appeal, and he is now set to begin serving his nearly 13-year prison sentence. Davila has recommended that Holmes serve her sentence in a Bryan, Texas prison, but it has not yet been publicly confirmed whether that will be the facility where she will report.