Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos founder, loses bid to avoid prison during appeal

A federal judge has ruled that disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes must report to the federal Bureau of Prisons and begin serving her sentence while the appeal of her fraud convictions is pending. 

In his ruling late Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila said he found Holmes was not a flight risk or danger to the community.

But in his ruling, Davila found that Holmes' arguments for appeal wouldn't likely result in a reversal of the jury’s three fraud and one conspiracy convictions.

Holmes was previously ordered to self-surrender into federal custody on April 27. She could still file a last-minute appeal with the Ninth Circuit, but that would likely only buy her a few more weeks of freedom if that appeal is denied. 

A jury convicted Holmes, 39, in January 2022 of four counts, including defrauding investors in her now-defunct Palo Alto startup through false statements about her company. 

Davila sentenced her in November, while she was pregnant with her second child. In December, Holmes appealed her conviction and sentence, noting in a court filing that she was convicted only of defrauding investors, and claiming that the court record "is teeming with issues for appeal."

Holmes also asked Davila to delay her prison sentence until the appeal finishes, which could take a year or longer. 

Prosecutors opposed that request, arguing Holmes poses a flight risk and claiming she had tried to flee the country on a one-way ticket to Mexico after her conviction.

Holmes' attorneys denied that, saying her two children — one born in the past few months, and a son born in July 2021— as among the reasons she would not take off. 

Davila has recommended she serve her more than 11-year sentence at a minimum-security facility in Bryan, Texas, but federal prison authorities have the final say on where she will serve he sentence.