Disgraced Theranos Exec Sunny Balwani Convicted

Jury convicts Elizabeth Holmes' former partner of defrauding investors, patients
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2022 2:17 PM CDT
Disgraced Theranos Exec Sunny Balwani Convicted
Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, right, the former lover and business partner of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, walks into federal court in San Jose, Calif., on June 24, 2022.   (AP Photo/Michael Liedtke, File)

(Newser) – Another conviction in the Theranos scandal: A jury on Thursday convicted former executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of collaborating with CEO Elizabeth Holmes in a massive fraud involving the blood-testing company that once enthralled Silicon Valley. The 12 jurors found Balwani guilty on all 12 felony counts of defrauding both Theranos investors and the patients who relied on wildly unreliable blood tests that could have jeopardized their health, per the AP. Balwani sat expressionless as the verdicts were read.

The outcome puts Balwani and Holmes in similar situations. Holmes was convicted on four counts of investor fraud and conspiracy earlier this year. During that trial, Holmes tearfully accused Balwani of sexually emotionally abusing her while they were lovers. Both Holmes, 38, and Balwani, 57, face up to 20 years in prison. Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced in late September. The date of Balwani’s sentencing is expected to be set in the coming days.

The dual convictions representing a resounding victory for federal prosecutors, who seized on the Theranos case as a rare opportunity to hold ambitious entrepreneurs accountable for engaging in technological hyperbole while pursuing fame and fortune. In the process, they hoped to discourage the practice of making bold and unproven promises about still-nascent products—a startup strategy known as "fake it until you make it.” (Appeals could delay the start of any prison sentence.)

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