Sunny Balwani Sentenced to Nearly 13 Years in Prison

A jury has found former Theranos COO Sunny Balwani guilty on all 12 counts of fraud. Here’s what to know about his sentencing.

Rachel Curry - Author

Dec. 9 2022, Updated 1:54 p.m. ET

Ramesh Sunny Balwani walking outside of courthouse during trial
Source: Getty Images

A 12-person jury found former Theranos chief operating officer Ramesh "Sunny” Balwani guilty of fraud on July 7. Balwani has been convicted of all 12 felony counts of fraud against him. Balwani was sentenced to up to 13 years in prison on Dec. 7, 2022.

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Sunny Balwani Convicted of 12 Felony Counts of Fraud

Sunny Balwani was convicted of 12 felony counts of fraud.
Source: Getty Images

Sunny Balwani was convicted of 12 felony counts of fraud.

Balwani has been convicted of all 12 felony counts of fraud against him. Theranos was a health tech company selling a flagship on-site blood testing machine that never actually functioned. Balwani’s former girlfriend and business partner Holmes officially founded the company in 2003, with Balwani himself signing on six years later. However, the duo’s relationship started in 2002, and Balwani held influence from the start.

Ultimately, Balwani is left with 10 counts of federal wire fraud along with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Unlike Holmes, Balwani didn't testify at his trial. The “often abrasive executive,” as Politico says, may have felt he didn’t match up to Holmes’s perceived charm.

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Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani Face Similar Lengths of Prison Time

While a jury found Balwani guilty of all 12 counts of fraud, another jury convicted Holmes of four out of 11 counts of fraud posited against her. Still, both Holmes (38 years old) and Balwani (57 years old) face up to 20 years in prison.

After his conviction, a judge increased Balwani’s bail from $500,000 to $750,000. U.S. attorney Stephanie Hinds said, “We are gratified by the jury’s hard work and attentiveness to the evidence presented. We appreciate the verdict and look forward to the sentencing proceedings.”

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Balwani and Holmes Were Sentenced to Prison

Balwani’s was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Dec. 7— the month before Holmes was sentenced on Nov. 18 to 11.3 years.

While the two brought unique misgivings to the now-defunct Theranos, Balwani’s involvement was undeniable, to the court and public alike. In 2009, when he officially joined Theranos as an executive, Balwani invested $13 million of his own money to lead a funding round for the company. Still, Balwani brought no medical or technical expertise to the team. He “frequently [misused] technical terms, making it clear that he didn’t fully understand the science the employees were working with at the lab,” according to The Cut.

Holmes claimed Balwani abused and manipulated her. (She testified, “He told me that I didn’t know what I was doing in business, that my convictions were wrong, and that if I followed my instincts, I was going to fail.”) The two have an almost 20-year age gap, with Balwani as the senior. Whereas abuse hasn't been proven, the duo shares responsibility for defrauding investors and risking the lives of patients with inaccurate blood test results. This has put the onus on them both, something juries in both trials have effectively agreed on.


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