Ramesh Balwani jailed in Theranos scandal

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By Creative Media News

The imprisonment of Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani came only weeks after disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, once called America’s youngest female self-made billionaire by Forbes, was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison.

In addition to his accomplice, the ex-partner of disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison.

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison for his role in the company’s blood-testing fraud, in which investors were duped and patients were put in danger while the pair enjoyed a life of celebrity and money.

Ramesh balwani jailed in theranos scandal
Ramesh balwani jailed in theranos scandal

It comes just weeks after Holmes, once characterized by Forbes as America’s youngest self-made female millionaire, was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for her role in a case that captivated the world.

Balwani, 57, was convicted in July of fraud and conspiracy in connection with the Silicon Valley company’s phony medical technology that was advertised as being able to detect dozens of ailments with a single drop of blood.

He was the chief operations officer at Theranos and was in a relationship with CEO Elizabeth Holmes until their acrimonious breakup in 2016 after details about the firm first appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

Ramesh balwani
Ramesh balwani jailed in theranos scandal

During her trial, Holmes, who is now 38 years old, accused Balwani of manipulating her through years of emotional and sexual abuse, which Balwani’s attorney refuted.

In court documents, his legal team portrayed him as a hard-working immigrant from India who moved to the United States in the 1980s. However, according to prosecutors, he “provided a fictitious story” about Theranos’s technology because he “reasoned that honesty would ruin” the company.

Who exactly is Sunny Balwani?

Balwani earned a degree in information systems in 1990 from the University of Texas.

Subsequently, he relocated to Silicon Valley, where he worked as a computer programmer for Microsoft before creating an online firm that he later sold for millions of dollars during the dot-com boom of the 1990s.

Upon meeting Holmes, who had dropped out of Stanford University to pursue her dream of founding Theranos, he was immediately captivated by her, as were the company’s investors shortly thereafter.

Holmes helped establish Theranos in 2003 by channeling family funds intended for her education into the company.

Holmes’s company grabbed Silicon Valley by storm with the promise of revolutionary blood testing technology, which garnered investment from Rupert Murdoch and the American pharmacy chain Walgreens.

Balwani’s attorneys claim he committed $5m (£4m) in a share that grew to be worth approximately $500m (£411m) – a fraction of Holmes’ former fortune of $4.5bn (£3.6bn) and the company’s peak valuation of $9bn (£7.4bn).

He kept a false front.

Prosecutors asserted that Balwani was a willing participant in Holmes’s fabrications about Theranos’s technology and that he “kept this facade of achievements” daily for years.

As they sought a conviction on a dozen charges, he was portrayed as a cruel and power-hungry individual.

Holmes was acquitted on many counts of deceiving and conspiring against those who paid for Theranos’ blood tests, however, Balwani was found guilty on all 12 counts.

Balwani’s attorneys had argued that Holmes was far more responsible for the scam.

They said, “He truly invested millions of dollars of his own money; he never sought celebrity or glory, and he has a long history of quietly donating to others less fortunate.”

Balwani “has lost his career, his reputation, and his capacity to work meaningfully again,” they continued, citing the portrayal of him in various media, including an outstanding television drama series, about the controversy.

The government wants Holmes and Balwani to pay $804 million (£660 million) each for defrauding investors.

During Holmes’ sentence, the judge deferred a decision on this matter to an undisclosed future date.

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