Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of biotech startup Theranos who was found guilty of defrauding patients and investors, is fighting to stay out of prison in order to overturn her conviction just weeks after giving birth to her second child.
During a hearing Friday, Holmes, 39, and her attorneys attempted to persuade U.S. District Judge Edward Davila to allow her to delay the start of her 11-year prison sentence for which she is scheduled to surrender on April 27.
The judge said he would not issue his decision until the first week of April.
It was Holmes’ first appearance in the California court since giving birth to the child she was carrying at the time of her Nov. 18 sentencing.
Holmes is requesting to stay out of prison in order to appeal her conviction, with her attorneys saying that she has “two very young children” to be with, according to court documents cited my multiple outlets.
Holmes, a Stanford University dropout, founded Theranos in 2003. She lured investors with the idea that the company had developed technology that could run multiple blood tests with highly accurate results using just a few drops of blood.
Theranos’ value soared to an estimated $9 billion, and her personal net worth grew to $4.5 billion, leading Forbes to declare her the youngest self-made female billionaire in the U.S. in 2015.
Later that year, it was revealed that Theranos was using traditional blood testing machines that could be providing patients with inaccurate results. After years of investigations and scandals, the company shut down in 2018.
In January 2022, a jury convicted the 38-year-old with four counts of wire fraud, and she was sentenced in November to 11 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
But Holmes has continued drawing controversy following her sentencing. In January this year, prosecutors said she had bought a one-way ticket to Mexico shortly after her conviction. Her pregnancy has also sparked debate about whether new mothers should be given leniency.
- New and expectant mothers remain a blind spot for a U.S. prison system designed for men, writes journalist Holly Honderich for the BBC. The number of incarcerated women has shot up by 700% in the last two decades, with the majority of these prisoners being mothers. While some states have more caregiver options, the country still lacks prison nurseries for new mothers.