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Elizabeth Holmes may be released 2 years earlier than originally sentenced

SAN FRANCISCO — Disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes has apparently behaved well enough during the first six weeks of her more than 11-year prison sentence for duping investors in her blood-testing hoax to be eligible for release nearly two years ahead of schedule, federal officials confirmed Tuesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons currently projects that Holmes, 39, will be released from a Bryan, Texas, prison on December 29, 2032. That would be 115 months, or slightly more than 9 1/2 years, after she began her prison sentence of 11 years and three months imposed by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila last November.

Holmes was convicted on four counts of fraud and conspiracy following a high-profile trial in San Jose, California, that riveted Silicon Valley for months.

Her prison sentence hasn't changed, but like all prisoners who follow the rules she can qualify for an early release under the federal government's "good time" guidelines. Her projected release date — a few weeks before her 49th birthday — is in line with a prisoner serving her length of sentence.

When Davila sentenced Holmes, legal experts predicted she might be able to get out of federal prison in about nine years.

The Bureau of Prisons declined to explain the specific reasons for Holmes' projected release date, citing "privacy, safety, and security reasons" in a statement provided Tuesday to The Associated Press.

"Every inmate earns good conduct time and is projected in their projected release date," the statement pointed out.

Holmes' former lover and top lieutenant at Theranos — Ramesh "Sunny Balwani" — is also on track for an early release from his nearly 13-year prison sentence after being convicted of 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy last year following a separate trial. Balwani's projected release date is April 1, 2034, according to the Bureau of Prisons. That would be nearly 11 years after he began his sentence at a Southern California prison.

Both Holmes and Balwani, 57, are hoping to get out even earlier as their lawyers pursue appeals seeking to overturn their respective convictions.

Although they had separate trials, Holmes and Balwani were accused of essentially the same crimes centered on a ruse touting Theranos' blood-testing system as a breakthrough in health care. The claims helped the company become a Silicon Valley sensation that raised nearly $1 billion from investors and at one point anointed Holmes with a $4.5 billion fortune, based on her 50% stake in Theranos.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The Associated Press