Elizabeth Holmes: Theranos founder's criminal fraud case delayed further as she's pregnant

Holmes's trial was scheduled to start on July 13, 2021, which is no longer feasible as she's due to give birth in July


                            Elizabeth Holmes: Theranos founder's criminal fraud case delayed further as she's pregnant
Elizabeth Holmes at her court hearing (Getty Images)

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of the now-dissolved Theranos -- a privately held health technology corporation -- is pregnant. This new development may possibly delay her fraud trial in California until late summer. Holmes's trial was scheduled to start on July 13, 2021, which is no longer feasible as she's due to give birth in July. Lawyers representing the former world's youngest self-made billionaire who was indicted for federal wire fraud in 2018, requested in court papers filed on Friday that the jury selection process be pushed back by six weeks, until August 31, 2021. 

Holmes was once valued at $9 billion until being indicted along with former COO of Theranos, Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani. The indictment alleged they engaged in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors, as well as a scheme to defraud doctors and patients. Both have pleaded not guilty in this case and if the indictment is proven, they stand to face up to 20 years in prison. Holmes and Balwani were in a relationship during their time heading Theranos and have pled not guilty to nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Balwani's case is being handled separately and his trial is scheduled to begin in January 2022.

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CEO Theranos Elizabeth Holmes attends the 2016 Breakthrough Prize Ceremony on November 8, 2015, in Mountain View, California (Getty Images)

Holmes trial was originally scheduled for March 2021, however, it was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and this is the second time that the schedule is likely to be pushed back further. "The parties have met and conferred, and both parties agree that, in light of this development, it is not feasible to begin the trial on July 13, 2021, as currently scheduled. In light of Defendant's pregnancy, the parties stipulate and agree, and respectfully request that the Court order, that the trial begin with jury selection on August 31, 2021," the court papers read. 37-year-old Holmes married hotel heir Billy Evans in 2019. On September 9, 2020, a court document revealed that she was planning to resort to "mental disease defense" in her trial. Judge Edward Davila approved the examinations after Holmes’ lawyers said that they planned on introducing expert evidence from a clinical psychologist relating to a “mental disease or defect or any other mental condition of the defendant bearing on the issue of guilt”.

Former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny' Balwani leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court on June 28, 2019, in San Jose, California (Getty Images)

 

The Case

The US Attorney's Office in Northern District of California states, "Theranos was a private health care and life sciences company with the stated mission to revolutionize medical laboratory testing through allegedly innovative methods for drawing blood, testing blood, and interpreting the resulting patient data." Holmes and Balwani used advertisements to encourage doctors and patients to use Theranos' services even though they knew the company was "not capable of consistently producing accurate and reliable results for certain blood tests."

Former Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes (C) leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court on June 28, 2019, in San Jose, California (Getty Images)

The indictment further states that the duo "used interstate electronic wires to purchase advertisements intended to induce individuals to purchase Theranos blood tests at Walgreens stores in California and Arizona. Through these advertisements, the defendants explicitly represented to individuals that Theranos’s blood tests were cheaper than blood tests from conventional laboratories to induce individuals to purchase Theranos’s blood tests." You can read the entire document here

For information or assistance with this case, please contact the Mega Victim Case Assistance Program unit at (844) 527-5299 or e-mail [email protected]

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