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Elizabeth Holmes attempted ‘to flee the country,’ prosecutors allege



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Elizabeth Holmes, the former Theranos CEO, booked a one-way plane ticket to Mexico that was scheduled to depart just weeks after she was convicted of fraud in January 2022, a recent court filing says. In the document, filed on Thursday, prosecutors describe the booking as an “attempt to flee the country.”

Government attorneys learned of the flight — departing Jan. 26, 2022 — on Jan. 23, and alerted Holmes’s legal team by email. They replied that she had booked the flight before the verdict in the hope she would be able to attend a wedding in Mexico. Holmes canceled the ticket, “but it is difficult to know with certainty what Defendant would have done had the government not intervened,” the plaintiffs wrote.

The filing was in response to a motion made by Holmes, 38, to loosen restrictions placed on her region of travel. In order to do so, Holmes has to prove that she is not a flight risk, a requirement prosecutors say she failed to meet.

In November last year, Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after her Jan. 3, 2022, conviction on four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was given a self-surrender date of April 27, 2023, after the court found out she was pregnant with her second child.

Holmes posted a $500,000 bond secured by her parents’ home, her motion said, and has been living on an estate in California with a reported monthly upkeep of more than $13,000, according to the prosecutors’ filing.

Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to more than 11 years in prison

She justified her request for the expanded travel based on her partner’s work commitments, and also recorded his salary as $0 despite “asserting that her partner pays the monthly bills rather than her,” the plaintiff’s document said.

Her attorneys argued in their motion that Holmes “has strong ties to her partner and family, including her son and soon-to-be-born child, that incentivize her to comply with her conditions of release.”

Holmes founded lab testing start-up Theranos in 2003 at age 19, promising technology that could conduct hundreds of medical tests with just a few drops of blood. The company attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from prominent investors including Rupert Murdoch and Walmart’s Walton Family. Former defense secretary James Mattis was on the board of directors.

But Holmes’s image as a young, promising CEO unraveled when it was eventually discovered that Theranos relied on other companies’ technology to conduct the tests, and that she led what the Thursday filing calls “an elaborate fraud scheme that resulted in more than a hundred million dollars of loss, with no consideration of the patients she endangered and with no remorse to this day toward the investor-victims.”

“There are not two systems of justice — one for the wealthy and one for the poor — there is one criminal justice system in this country,” the plaintiffs added.

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