Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’s prison sentence delayed

A last-minute appeal filed Wednesday by lawyers for Elizabeth Holmes will keep her out of incarceration at least a little longer.

Holmes, the disgraced founder of defunct blood-testing start-up Theranos, was originally scheduled to report to prison Thursday to begin an 11-year sentence following her conviction on wire fraud charges. But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday automatically stayed her surrender date until the court can rule on Holmes’s late bid to stay out prison while she fights her conviction.

While the appeal to her conviction could take several months or years to move through the court system, a decision on whether Holmes can remain free during that process may only take a few weeks, as it did for her former romantic and business partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who was convicted on wire fraud charges in a separate but similar trial.

Hours before Balwani was set to begin his 13-year prison sentence, he filed a similar request with the appeals court, which was denied three weeks later. Balwani began his prison sentence on April 20 at a federal correctional institute in San Pedro, Calif.

Elizabeth Holmes tried to flee U.S. after conviction, prosecutors allege

Holmes’s last-ditch attempt to remain out of prison is tied to a decision a federal judge made earlier this month, when he ruled she could not stay free while pursuing an appeal of her convictions. Holmes’s lawyers appealed his ruling Wednesday.

Once celebrated for her blood-testing start-up, Holmes’s reputation fell dramatically more than six years ago when a media investigation revealed that the company — which purported to be able to run a multitude of tests from just a few drops of blood — was using traditional lab machines from other companies to complete many of its tests. Former employees said the technology was inconsistent and not working nearly as well as Theranos claimed.

Theranos eventually shuttered in 2018 amid multiple regulatory and media investigations, and Holmes kept a low profile until her months-long trial attracted widespread media and public attention in late 2021. The former CEO was convicted last year of misleading investors about the capabilities of the company, which raised about $900 million from investors, including prominent tech leaders and U.S. statesmen.

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