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Theranos founder Holmes ‘a flight risk’

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes bought a one-way plane ticket to Mexico after her fraud conviction, US prosecutors say, as they warn she is a flight risk.

January 22, 2023
22 January 2023

Elizabeth Holmes is a flight risk and shouldn’t be allowed to stay out of prison while she appeals her 11-year prison sentence for defrauding investors, US prosecutors say.

Holmes had a one-way plane ticket to Mexico booked for January 26, 2022, three weeks after being convicted by a jury on four counts of fraud and conspiracy, federal prosecutors say in a motion filed on Thursday in federal court in northern California.

Holmes, who was CEO of Theranos during the company’s turbulent 15-year history, was convicted in a scheme that revolved around the company’s claims to have developed a medical device that could detect a multitude of diseases and conditions from a few drops of blood.

But the technology never worked, and the claims were false.

Holmes booked the 2022 flight without a scheduled return trip and only cancelled it after prosecutors contacted Holmes’ lawyers about the “unauthorised flight”, prosecutors say.

Holmes’ lawyers did not immediately respond on Friday to requests to comment.

In a January 23, 2022, email responding to prosecutors’ concerns about the planned trip, they say Holmes had booked it before the jury’s verdict to attend a wedding in Mexico.

“Given the verdict, she does not plan to take the trip and therefore did not provide notice, seek permission, or request access to her passport (which the government has) for the trip,” wrote Lance Wade, one of Holmes’ lawyers.

On November 17, US District Judge Edward Davila sentenced Homes to more than 11 years in prison. 

Davila ordered Holmes, who is pregnant, to report to prison on April 27, giving her enough time to give birth to her second child before she is jailed.

She gave birth to a son shortly before her trial started last year.

Holmes will return to court on March 17 for a hearing on her request to stay out of prison while she appeals her conviction.

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