After being convicted in July of all 12 charges he faced related to the Theranos blood testing fraud scandal, the company’s former chief operating officer, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, must now face the music for his crimes. He was sentenced on Dec. 7 to 12 years, 11 months of prison time by US District Judge Edward J. Davila for his role in the fraud that put patient safety at risk and cost Theranos investors millions of dollars. Balwani will also see three years of supervised release once his prison sentence has been served.
According to a statement by the US Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California, evidence showed that Balwani profited immensely from portraying Theranos’ supposedly ground-breaking blood testing technology as more reliable and accurate than it was. In reality, the technology never worked, endangering patient health and causing investors to lose millions.
“Ramesh Balwani, in a desire to become a Silicon Valley titan, valued business success and personal wealth far more than patient safety,” said US Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds in the statement issued by her office. “He chose deceit over candor with patients in need of medical care, and he treated his investors no better. Today’s sentence should serve as a lesson to anyone considering fraud in their own push for success.”
Like his partner in crime and former lover, Elizabeth Holmes, Balwani was able to delay sentencing, but unlike Holmes, during his trial, he was unable to convince jurors that he was innocent of any of the 10 counts of wire fraud or the two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud that he faced and will thus face a longer sentence than Theranos’ former chief executive officer.
Holmes was found not guilty of seven of the 11 charges she faced, receiving a slightly lighter prison sentence of 11 years and three months, followed by three years of supervised release, on Nov. 18.
While Holmes was sentenced earlier, unless she can appeal, she’ll begin her prison sentence after Balwani, on April 27, 2023. Balwani must surrender himself to the authorities on March 15, 2023 to start his prison sentence. In addition to the prison time and supervised release, the amount of restitution Balwani will need to pay will be determined at a yet-to-be-scheduled hearing, according the US Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California.