Former Theranos COO Sunny Balwani sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in prison | JP
Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Theranos’ former chief operating officer, has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison. Balwani was found of all charges in a trial earlier this year that charged him with defrauding the blood testing startup’s patients and investors.
Of note, his sentence is slightly longer than the 11-year and three month sentence given to Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO of Theranos. Ahead of his sentencing, Balwani’s legal team had asked for probation or house arrest, The Wall Street Journal . A probation officer had recommended a nine-year sentence, while prosecutors wanted 15 years in prison.
Balwani will also have to pay restitution, though the amount hasn’t yet been set. He is due to surrender March 15th.
Unlike Holmes, who was not convicted on seven out of 11 total fraud charges in her trial, Balwani was convicted of defrauding Theranos patients in addition to the company’s wealthy investors. As COO, Balwani oversaw the operations of the company’s troubled laboratory, and prosecutors argued that he had detailed knowledge of problems with its blood tests and the risk they posed to patients.
Though Balwani never rose to the same level of fame as his former partner during his time at Theranos, his relationship with Holmes has played heavily into the intrigue surrounding the company’s downfall. Holmes and Balwani’s relationship featured prominently in The Dropout, a Hulu miniseries about Theranos, and text messages between the two were read aloud in both trials.
When Holmes took the stand in her own defense, she said Balwani had been abusive, and had misled her about issues in the company’s lab.
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