Ex-Theranos chief found a way to delay the start of jail time
Former Theranos chief executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani on Thursday found a way out of the planned start of his nearly 13-year prison sentence for a blood test hoax he pulled with his former boss and lover Elizabeth Holmes.
Just hours before Balwani was due to turn himself in to authorities, his lawyer filed paperwork notifying US District Judge Edward Davila that he would not do so.
The notice cites a last-minute appeal of Davila’s recent decision denying Balwani’s request to remain free in an attempt to overturn his 12-count fraud and conspiracy conviction. Wednesday’s appeal against Davila’s March 9 decision prompted an automatic postponement of his prison report date, which was set for 2 p.m. PT Thursday.
This is because Balwani, 57, has been out on bail since a jury found him guilty last July, triggering a clause that allows him to remain free on bail until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hears last week’s Davila ruling, as notified. filed Balwani’s attorney Jeffrey Coopersmith.
It is not yet clear how long it will be before the appeals court considers this decision.
If and when he is sent to prison, Balavani will serve his term in a facility near the Southern California harbor, according to other documents filed on Wednesday by Coopersmith. This destination is a crossing from the Atlanta prison that Balwani was originally assigned by the authorities.
The change means Balwani will be in Terminal Island Prison, located in San Pedro, California, about 30 miles (48 km) from downtown Los Angeles. The prison has held several other prominent figures, including gangster Al Capone in the 1930s, apocalyptic cult leader Charles Manson for stealing cars in the 1950s, and LSD evangelist Timothy Leary in the 1970s.
In a statement last week, Coopersmith asked Davila for more time to appeal the Bureau of Prisons’ decision to send him to the Atlanta prison, which has been dogged by allegations of widespread misconduct and other violations. Davila recommended that Balwani be sent to Lompoc Jail in Santa Barbara County, located about 250 miles (400 km) from the San Jose courtroom where he was being tried.
Holmes, 39, and her lawyers will have a chance to try to convince Davila to let her delay the April 27 start of her more than 11-year prison sentence during a hearing scheduled for Friday morning in San Jose, California.
This will be Holmes’ first appearance in court since the birth of the child she was carrying when she was sentenced on November 18 on four counts of fraud and conspiracy.
Although they had different lawsuits, Holmes and Balwani were accused of essentially the same crimes centered on a ploy tout the Theranos blood test system as a revolutionary breakthrough in health care. The claims helped the company become a Silicon Valley sensation, raising nearly $1 billion from investors.
But his technology never came close to working, as Holmes and Balwani boasted, leading to Theranos’ scandalous collapse and a criminal case that shed a bright light on Silicon Valley’s greed and arrogance.
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