Former Theranos exec Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani sentenced to nearly 13 years

The previous chief working officer of disgraced biotech startup Theranos has been sentenced to 12 years and 10 months in jail.

Decide Edward Davila of the Northern District of California sentenced Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to 155 months in jail and three years of probation. Balwani, 57, should give up himself on March 15, Davila dominated.

Balwani was Theranos’ chief working officer for six years, throughout which period he additionally maintained a romantic relationship with Holmes. He was convicted in July of 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy for his function within the firm, which fraudulently claimed it developed a medical gadget that might scan for tons of of illnesses with a couple of drops of blood.


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Balwani convicted of 12 felony counts

Prosecutors had requested for Balwani to serve 15 years in jail. Balwani’s protection group had requested for probation solely, arguing that he had invested his personal cash into Theranos and misplaced all of it.

Balwani didn’t converse at his sentencing listening to in San Jose, which stretched over 4 hours. He intends to enchantment the sentence, his lawyer advised reporters.

The sentencing comes lower than three weeks after Elizabeth Holmes, the corporate’s founder and CEO, obtained greater than 11 years in jail for her function within the scheme. The scandal revolved across the firm’s false claims to have developed a medical gadget that might scan for tons of of illnesses and different potential issues with only a few drops of blood taken with a finger prick.

On the stand, Holmes described her relationship with Balwani as controlling, and mentioned Balwani manipulated her by years of emotional and sexual abuse. Balwani’s lawyer has denied the allegations.

Whereas Balwani was convicted of all 12 felony counts, Holmes was convicted of simply 4. The jury acquitted her of a number of fees of defrauding and conspiring towards individuals who paid for Theranos blood exams that produced deceptive outcomes. The jury in Holmes’ trial additionally deadlocked on three fees.

Balwani’s trial was sparsely attended, and on Wednesday nobody was in line an hour earlier than the courthouse opened to attend his sentence. That is a pointy distinction to the queue that started to type 5 hours earlier than the doorways opened at Holmes’ November 18 sentencing.


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Portrait of hardworking immigrant

In courtroom paperwork, Balwani’s attorneys painted him as a hardworking immigrant who moved from India to the U.S. throughout the Eighties to turn out to be the primary member of his household to attend faculty. He graduated from the College of Texas in 1990 with a level in info methods.

He later moved to Silicon Valley, the place he first labored as a pc programmer for Microsoft earlier than founding a web-based startup that he offered for tens of millions of {dollars} throughout the dot-com growth of the Nineteen Nineties.

Balwani and Holmes met across the similar time she dropped out of Stanford College to begin Theranos in 2003. He grew to become enthralled with her and her quest to revolutionize well being care.

Balwani’s attorneys mentioned he finally invested about $5 million in a stake in Theranos that finally grew to become price about $500 million on paper — a fraction of Holmes’ one-time fortune of of $4.5 billion.

That wealth evaporated after Theranos started to unravel in 2015 amid revelations that its blood-testing expertise by no means labored as Holmes had boasted. Earlier than Theranos’ downfall, Holmes teamed up with Balwani to lift practically $1 billion from deep-pocketed traders that included software program mogul Larry Ellison and media magnate Rupert Murdoch.


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“Not the identical as Elizabeth”

“Mr. Balwani shouldn’t be the identical as Elizabeth Holmes,” his attorneys wrote in a memo to the decide. “He truly invested tens of millions of {dollars} of his personal cash; he by no means sought fame or recognition; and he has an extended historical past of quietly giving to these much less lucky.” Balwani’s attorneys additionally asserted that Holmes “was dramatically extra culpable” for the Theranos fraud.

Echoing related claims made by Holmes’s attorneys earlier than her sentencing, Balwani’s attorneys additionally argued that he has been adequately punished by the extraordinary media protection of Theranos, which has been the topic of a guide, documentary and award-winning TV sequence.

Balwani “has misplaced his profession, his popularity and his skill to meaningfully work once more,” his attorneys wrote.

Federal prosecutors forged Balwani as a ruthless, power-hungry confederate in crimes that ripped off traders and imperiled individuals who obtained flawed outcomes. The blood exams have been to be out there in a partnership with Walgreen’s that Balwani helped engineer.

“Balwani offered a pretend story about Theranos’ expertise and monetary stability day after day in assembly after assembly,” the prosecutors wrote of their memo to the decide. “Balwani maintained this façade of accomplishments, after making the calculated choice that honesty would destroy Theranos.”

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