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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes tried to flee the US, prosecutors say

Elizabeth Holmes launched Theranos after dropping out of Stanford University at age 19.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes attempted to flee the US shortly after her conviction on fraud charges last year, prosecutors say.

According to a new court filing, the 38-year-old purchased a one-way ticket to Mexico last January.

“Only after the government raised this unauthorized flight…was the trip cancelled,” prosecutors said.

Holmes was convicted of defrauding investors in her blood testing startup that was once valued at $9bn (£7.5bn).

The former Silicon Valley star falsely claimed that the technology could diagnose diseases with just a few drops of blood. But it didn’t work out and, faced with multiple lawsuits, the company was dissolved in 2018.

The latest court filing, which was filed Thursday, also said Holmes’ partner had purchased a one-way ticket to Mexico.

“The government expects [Holmes] you will note in response that, in fact, she did not leave the country as planned, but it is difficult to know for sure what [she] would have done if the government had not intervened,” prosecutors said.

The BBC has contacted a lawyer for Holmes for comment.

Holmes was convicted in early January 2022 of defrauding investors and later sentenced in November to more than 11 years in prison. During the sentencing hearing, he was ordered to turn himself in to prison on April 27 this year.

But she appealed her conviction soon after and is asking a judge to release her beyond April while her appeal is heard in federal court. That process could take a year.

His lawyers also claimed that Holmes would raise “substantial questions” that could warrant a new trial.

The latest court filing in California says Holmes has been paying $13,000 (£10,500) a month to live in a property while his appeal is heard.

Prosecutors want it turned over as scheduled in April. “The time has come for Elizabeth Holmes to answer for her crimes committed nearly a decade ago,” they said. “There are not two justice systems, one for the rich and one for the poor.”

A judge will hear his motion to delay his prison sentence pending appeal on March 17.

Holmes launched Theranos after dropping out of Stanford University at age 19. The company’s value soared after executives claimed it could spark a revolution in disease diagnosis.

The rise and fall of the startup was chronicled on several popular podcasts and TV shows, including a Hulu series called The Dropout, with Amanda Seyfried starring as Holmes.

Holmes’s business partner, Sunny Balwani, a former Theranos chairman, was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison in December.

Holmes apologized for the “failures” of his business, saying he “felt deep pain for what people went through, because I failed them.”

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