Elizabeth Holmes made an “attempt to flee the country” by booking a one-way ticket to Mexico departing in January 2022, shortly after the Theranos founder was convicted of fraud, prosecutors alleged in a new court filing Friday.
Holmes was convicted last January of defrauding investors while running the failed blood testing startup Theranos. In November, she was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison. She has appealed her conviction and does not start her prison sentence until this spring, a waiting period that prosecutors described as “generous” and due to her being pregnant.
The claim that she tried to leave the country last year surfaced as part of a new filing from prosecutors arguing that Holmes should begin serving her prison sentence rather than living on an estate reported to have $13,000 in monthly expenses for upkeep.
In the filing, prosecutors argue Holmes has not shown convincing evidence that she is not a flight risk, as her lawyers have stated, and used the alleged 2022 incident to support their concerns that she could pose such a risk.
“The government became aware on January 23, 2022, that Defendant Holmes booked an international flight to Mexico departing on January 26, 2022, without a scheduled return trip,” the court filing states. “Only after the government raised this unauthorized flight with defense counsel was the trip canceled.”
The filing adds that prosecutors anticipate Holmes will “reply that she did not in fact leave the country as scheduled” but said “it is difficult to know with certainty” what she would have done “had the government not intervened.” Now, in the wake of her sentencing, prosecutors say “the incentive to flee has never been higher” and Holmes “has the means to act on that incentive.”
An attorney for Holmes did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the filing Friday.
The court filing includes an email from one of Holmes’ attorneys to the prosecution, claiming that the travel reservation was made before the verdict. In the email, Holmes’ attorney claims the former Theranos CEO hoped the verdict would be different and that she would be able to make this trip to attend the wedding of friends in Mexico.
In an earlier court filing, Holmes’ attorneys argued for her release from custody pending appeal, saying she was not a flight risk or a threat to the community.
Holmes has been ordered to turn herself into custody on April 27, 2023, at which point her prison sentence will begin.
“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,” prosecutors stated in the filing. They argue that “under that 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 wide range of conditions using just a few drops of blood. The company began to unravel after a Wall Street Journal investigation in 2015 reported that Theranos had only ever performed roughly a dozen of the hundreds of tests it offered using its proprietary technology, and with questionable accuracy.