Theranos founder fights to stay out of prison to care for her newborn

Category: Americas Fintech Med Tech

Theranos founder, former CEO Elizabeth Holmes, is requesting a delay to start her 11-year sentence to allow her to care for her newborn child. She is requesting a new trial.

Holmes began her sentence in a Texas prison this week after being found guilty of misleading investors about the company’s blood-testing technology. She was heavily pregnant when she last appeared in the courtroom in San Jose, California where a jury found her guilty on four felony counts of fraud and conspiracy.

Trial delayed due to birth of first child

Holmes, 39, previously delayed her trial so that she could give birth to her first child. She had her two children with her current partner Billy Evans whom she met in 2016 after her breakup with former partner, 57-year old Sunny Balwani, who has been convicted on 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy in a separate trial. He is also requesting for his prison sentence to be postponed to a later date.

Apart from having a young child and newborn baby, Holmes believes she should be allowed to stay out of prison while she waits for judgement to her appeal. Her lawyers have been claiming that a number of mistakes and abuses took place at her trial and they are asking for a retrial and her conviction to be nullified. They have also highlighted her unblemished record while she has been waiting for judgement during the last five years.

Holmes arrived to start her sentence in a minimum-security prison in Bryan, Texas which is about 160 km north Houston and associated with white collar crime and drugs-related convictions.

She was world’s youngest self-made billionaire

During her prison sentence Elizabeth Holmes will work for an hourly rate of between 12c and US $1.15, which will go toward payments for her court hearings. She was once believed to be the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

The US courts have also ordered Homes and Balwani to pay US $452 million to investors of the Theranos scheme who include Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and former US Treasure Secretary of State George Shultz.

At its peak Theranos was valued at US $9 billion. It promised to detect medical conditions which included diabetes with just a few drops of blood but in reality the technology behind the project never worked and the company finally collapsed in 2018.


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