Elizabeth Holmes made an “attempt to flee the country” by booking a one-way ticket to Mexico that departed in January 2022, shortly after the Theranos founder was convicted of fraud, prosecutors claimed in a new one court filing on Friday.
Holmes was convicted of defrauding investors last January while he ran failed blood-testing startup Theranos. In November she was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison. She has appealed her conviction.
The allegation that she attempted to leave the country last year emerged as part of a new filing by prosecutors in which she argued that Holmes should be serving out her jail sentence rather than living on an estate that is reported to be has a monthly upkeep of $13,000 while awaiting her appeal.
In the filing, prosecutors argue Holmes failed to provide convincing evidence that she did not pose a flight risk, as her attorneys stated, and used the alleged 2022 incident to bolster their concerns that she might pose such a risk.
“The government learned on January 23, 2022 that the defendant Holmes had booked an international flight to Mexico departing January 26, 2022 with no scheduled return travel,” the court filings read. “It was only after the government raised this unauthorized flight with the defense attorney that the trip was canceled.”
The filing adds that prosecutors Expect Holmes “to reply that she did not in fact leave the country as planned,” but said “it’s difficult to know for certain” what she would have done “if the government hadn’t intervened.” Now, after her conviction, prosecutors say “the incentive to flee has never been greater” and Holmes “has the means to respond to that incentive”.
An attorney for Holmes did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on Friday’s filing.
The court filing contains an email from one of Holmes’ attorneys to prosecutors, claiming that the travel booking was made before the verdict. In the email, Holmes’ attorney alleges that the former Theranos CEO was hoping the verdict would be different and that she could make this trip to attend a friends’ wedding in Mexico.
In an earlier court filing, Holmes’ attorneys pleaded for her release from custody, saying she posed no escape risk or a threat to the community.
Holmes was ordered to surrender into custody on April 27, 2023.
“There are not two justice systems – one for the rich and one for the poor – there is one criminal justice system in this country,” prosecutors said in the filing. They argue that “under this system the time has come” for Holmes to answer for her crimes.
Once valued at $9 billion, Theranos attracted top investors and retail partners with claims that it had developed technology to test for a variety of conditions using just a few drops of blood. The company began to unravel after a 2015 Wall Street Journal investigation reported that Theranos had only run about a dozen of the hundreds of tests it offered using its proprietary technology and with questionable accuracy.