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Elizabeth Holmes tried to flee the country after being sentenced to prison, prosecutors say

By Sarah May
|
January 22, 2023

Disgraced former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes – whose powerful allies once included the likes of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton – made an attempt to flee the country shortly after being convicted on four counts of criminal fraud and sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, according to The Hill.

Holmes – a onetime darling of liberal elites from Palo Alto, CA to D.C. – was famously found guilty of fraudulently misleading investors about the efficacy of the blood testing technology for which her startup firm gained rapid notoriety.

Holmes' flight attempt revealed

Back in December, Holmes, 38, sought the court's permission to remain free while an appeal in her case makes its way through the courts, and it was as a result of the prosecution's opposition to that motion that her attempt to leave the country came to light.

In support of her bid to remain out of prison pending appeal, Holmes listed a series of what she believes are mitigating factors in her case, including the fact that she was convicted of fraud on investors, not on patients, that she was wrongly denied a new trial, and that she is the mother to one young child and is currently expecting a second.

Prosecutors, not surprisingly, disagreed with Holmes' contentions, saying that she has not offered “clear and convincing evidence” that she does not present a flight risk.

Bolstering that particular argument, prosecutors declared, was the fact that Holmes stands accused of arranging a one-way flight to Mexico following her conviction, though once the issue was raised with her lawyer, the trip was canceled.

Though Holmes is expected to claim that since she did not end up going to Mexico, the purchase of the ticket should not be held against her for purposes of this request, but prosecutors have suggested that she may well have left the country had the government not intervened and argued that the incentives for flight are higher now than ever before, and Holmes has the financial wherewithal to leave.

Surrender date approaches

At her sentencing hearing on Nov. 18 of last year, U.S. District Court Edward Davila leveled a penalty against Holmes of 11.25 years in prison and an additional three years of supervised release.

Holmes was ordered to surrender to authorities on April 27 of this year to begin serving her time in federal prison, representing a delay which was granted due to Holmes' second pregnancy, the due date for which has not been revealed.

Together with her partner and hotel heir Billy Evans, Holmes also welcomed a son on July 10, 2021, the existence and infancy of whom did not prevent the convicted felon from being ordered to prison this spring.

The news that Holmes was expecting a second child – conceived after her conviction – has drawn the scorn of numerous observers, including journalist Megyn Kelly, who characterized the pregnancy as little more than a strategy to reduce her time behind bars, as the New York Post noted.

“I hate to agree with the Twitter mob. They're angry about the pregnancy, suggesting she did that [on purpose].”

“She did that for sympathy. She did that intentionally on the gamble that the judge would say, 'I won't throw the book at you for the sake of the child,'” but the end result, according to Kelly, is that the “child is going to be without its mother for the first 11 years of his or her life.”

Stunning fall from grace

Holmes' story is one of limitless ambition brought to heel by unchecked greed and brazen deception, and it is a saga that seized headlines for several years.

Once touted as a trailblazing biotech phenom, Holmes dropped out of Stanford University and founded the blood testing enterprise known was Theranos at the age of 19, and on the strength of promises that its technology would revolutionize medical diagnostics, the company achieved a valuation of $9 billion at its pinnacle.

Everything began to fall apart, however when the Wall Street Journal began exposing the fraud behind the apparent success, helping whistleblowers tell their stories of manipulated research and disregarded quality control protocols, revelations that ultimately led to federal criminal charges.

Standing in federal court just prior to learning her sentence, Holmes humbly declared that she was “taking responsibility for Theranos” and added, “[t]here are so many things I would do differently if I had the chance.”

Given that her request to remain free as her appeal progresses is now in real jeopardy, it stands to reason that booking an open-ended flight to Mexico last year is probably among those aforementioned regrets.