Former Theranos Founder, Convicted Felon & San Diego Resident Elizabeth Holmes Must Report To Prison | Exploring Her Close Ties To A San Diego Hotel Behemoth

May 17, 2023

Former Theranos CEO and current San Diego resident Elizabeth Holmes will soon have to report to prison, so we explore her close ties to the powerful and deeply-rooted family behind some of the San Diego's most prominent hotels.

Elizabeth Holmes, who founded now-dissolved Theranos in 2003 at age 19, once graced the covers of magazines in which she was heralded as "the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire" and "the next Steve Jobs". She had raised billions of dollars to fund the rollout of a blood testing machine that was advertised as being able to perform over 100 different medical tests with just a prick of the finger and a few drops of blood. During her tenure, Theranos was valued at $9 Billion.

It turned out that Holmes was running a shoddy operation, allegedly misleading investors and the government at every turn with baseless promises and fraudulent technology. Her blood test machines didn't actually work, and in reality, Theranos was using commercially available machines made by competing manufacturers for most of its blood testing.

After being indicted in June 2018 on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for distributing blood tests with falsified results to consumers, the trial in the case of U.S. v. Holmes, et al. began in August 2021. After more than 50 hours of deliberations over seven days, in early January 2022, a California jury convicted Holmes of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Holmes was found not guilty of an additional four counts, and the jury reportedly remained deadlocked on the other three charges

On November 18, 2022, Holmes was sentenced by Judge Edward Davila to 11 years and three months in prison, with another three years of supervision after her release. The sentence also includes a fine of $400, or $100 for each count of fraud with restitution to be set at a later date. Holmes was originally ordered to turn herself into custody on April 27, 2023, but she received a one month automatic stay on reporting to prison after filing an appeal on the decision last month.

The man that called himself "Hanson" talking to reporters.
During the first days of jury selection at Holmes's federal fraud trial, a man describing himself as "concerned citizen interested in the trial" and calling himself "Hanson" reportedly piqued the curiosity of reporters by frequently chatting with media members. The man allegedly claimed to be a "car enthusiast" who was attending the trial as "a media watchdog". It turned out the mystery man was identified to be William "Bill" Ledford Evans, the father of Holmes' husband and heir to San Diego-based Evans Hotels company.

Founded in 1953 by William L. Evans' parents, William D. & Anne, Evans Hotels owns and operates The Bahia Resort Hotel in Mission Beach, the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa in Pacific Beach, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines Hotel in La Jolla, as well as two sternwheeler boats that ferry to and from between the company's Mission Bay hotels.

Bill & Billy Evans.
In addition to being a hotel magnate, Bill L. Evans owns one of the most exclusive private antique and classic car collections in the country. He has also sat on important regional boards, including being a former District Chairman for the San Diego Tourism Marketing board; a past board member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; headed the Convention Center Corporation Board of Directors for a period; was a board member and past president of the San Diego Hotel-Motel Association; was past President of the Mission Bay Lessees Association; and served on the boards of both the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau and the San Diego Historical Society. It is reported that Evans Hotels estimated annual revenue is currently $180.6 million per year.

"Today much of the success of the City's tourism industry can be traced back to that mudflat in Mission Bay where two young hoteliers saw the future," reads the About Us page on Evans Hotels website. "Now Anne Evans and her adult children, Bill Evans and Grace Evans Cherashore, continue to lead one of Southern California’s true success stories in tourism entrepreneurship and its hopes for continued success in the future."

Bill Evans' son Billy Evans, age 30, reportedly married Elizabeth Holmes, age 38, in a private ceremony at some point in 2019. Evans grew up around San Diego and attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics in 2015.

After graduation, Evans focused on creating a luxury healthcare start-up that would transport affluent Asian clients to the U.S. for concierge medical attention, with amenities like chauffeured car services, elegant hotels and top-tier health care, but the project did not come to fruition. Evans first official job out of college was at LinkedIn, where he was a strategy and analytics leadership program analyst from July 2015 to 2017. He then moved on to Luminar Technologies, which produces sensors for self-driving cars, taking on the role of manager of special projects. He was working at Luminar when he and Holmes began their relationship after meeting at a 2017 Fleet Week party in the San Francisco Bay Area. The two were first spotted in public together in August 2018 at the Burning Man festival. It is believed that Evans ceased working at Luminar in early 2019.

Billy and Elizabeth share a one year-old infant son, William Holmes Evans, who was born in July 10, 2021, as well as a 3-month-old daughter, Invicta. Some have speculated the timing of Elizabeth's pregnancies have been intended to delay her trial, prison term, and garner sympathy from the jury and public. Holmes actually became pregnant with her second child following the jury verdict and it's believed that her then-pregnancy was the reason she was not required to report for incarceration until April 2023.

It was previously been reported that Holmes and Evans were living on a home at the 74-acre, century-old Green Gables estate currently listed for sale for $135 million, located in Woodside, CA, in the Silicon Valley area, but they have since moved multiple times after their home address was revealed in media. They now live somewhere in San Diego County, possibly with Billy's parents.

"He [Evans] is a trust fund baby and has a lot of money, and he's probably helping out with the legal bills because Elizabeth's family doesn't have money either," surmised host Nick Bilton on his Vanity Fair podcast Inside The Hive in June 2019. "Holmes is going to get pregnant before she gets on the stand because she'll look very sympathetic as a pregnant woman on the stand."

Elizabeth Holmes' strategy at trial relied heavily on a "Svengali defense," essentially trying to convince the jury her actions were forced by former Theranos executive and Holmes' ex-boyfriend Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, who Holmes had known since she was 18 years of age.

Balwani, who is 18 years Holmes senior, faced the same federal criminal charges as Holmes but was tried separately due to the conflicts in each of their respective defense strategies. Balwani's trial began on March 8, 2022 and he was convicted in July. Balwani began his nearly 13 years in prison  for his role in the fraud this past April.

This week, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila ordered Holmes and Balwani, jointly, to pay $452 million in restitution to the victims of their crimes. In a filing made this morning, Judge Davila ordered Holmes to turn herself to the Bureau of Prisons by May 30 to begin serving her 11-year sentence. Holmes will serve her sentence at Federal Prison Camp Bryan in southern Texas, a minimum security federal prison camp that is approximately 100 miles from Houston, where she grew up before moving to California to attend Stanford.

Last March, streaming platform Hulu released "The Dropout," an eight episode series starring Amanda Seyfried. Apple TV+ was also planning to release a feature-length movie about Theranos named "Bad Blood", starring Jennifer Lawrence as Holmes, but it has been reported that the project based on the book of the same name is no longer moving forward.

For those looking to learn more about Elizabeth Holmes and the allegations against Theranos, there are several documentaries, podcasts and books available, including The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley documentary on HBO, The Drop Out podcast (which served as the basis for the Hulu series), Bad Blood: The Final Chapter podcast, and the book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by Wall Street Journal correspondent John Carreyrou, who was integral in blowing the Theranos scandal wide open in 2015.

We reached out to William L. Evans and Evans Hotels Chief Marketing Officer Ilsa Butler for comment in preparation for the original article but did not receive a response. Following the sharing of information about the connection between Elizabeth Holmes and Evans Hotels on the SanDiegoVille Instagram account, our profile was blocked by the Instagram pages for Catamaran Resort & Spa, The Lodge at Torrey Pines and Bahia Resort.

The original version of this article was originally published on September 30, 2021 with a second edition released in March 2022 and a third in December 2022.