Former Theranos COO Sunny Balwani found guilty of all charges

He was charged with 12 counts of fraud and could face up to 20 years in prison.

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Karissa Bell
July 7, 2022 2:59 PM
Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, former president and chief operating officer (COO) of Theranos and ex-boyfriend of founder Elizabeth Holmes, leaves after the opening day of his federal trial for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud was postponed due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) exposure in the courtroom in San Jose, California, U.S. March 16, 2022.  REUTERS/Brittany Hosea-Small
Brittany Hosea-Small / reuters

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Theranos’ former chief operating officer, has been found guilty of all charges in his criminal trial. Balwani, whose trial began in March, was charged with ten counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. 

He could face up to 20 years in prison for defrauding investors and Theranos patients. His sentencing is currently set for November 15th.

The verdict comes nearly six months after Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of defrauding Theranos investors. She also faces up to 20 years in prison; her sentencing is scheduled for September 26th. During her trial, Holmes testified that Balwani had been controlling and abusive during their relationship. Balwani’s attorneys denied the allegations.

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The case against Balwani was similar to the one against Holmes. Like Holmes, Balwani was charged with defrauding Theranos investors as well as patients. Holmes was found guilty on just four of the 11 fraud charges she faced, all of which related to Theranos investors. She was acquitted on charges of defrauding patients. 

Unlike Holmes, Balwani did not take the stand during his three-month trial. His lawyers argued that “he did not control Theranos” and that Holmes was ultimately in charge of running the company. Prosecutors maintained he worked hand-in-hand with Holmes to mislead investors, and that he was the executive responsible for erroneous financial projections claiming the startup would bring in $1 billion in revenue by 2015.

Balwani’s trial didn’t attract the same level of media attention as Holmes’, but his relationship with Holmes played a major role in the widespread fascination surrounding Theranos. Balwani joined Theranos as COO in 2009 and oversaw much of the day-to-day operations of the company’s lab. The two executives hid their longtime romantic relationship from other Theranos employees, as well as the company’s investors and board members. More recently, their relationship was a major focus of The Dropout, a Hulu miniseries about the rise and downfall of Holmes and Theranos.

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