Former Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison. Balwani was found guilty on all counts in a trial earlier this year that accused him of defrauding patients and investors of a blood-testing startup.
Notably, his sentence was slightly longer than the 11 years and three months that was dedicated to former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Balwani’s legal team requested probation or house arrest before sentencing, according to The Wall Street Journal . A probation officer recommended a nine-year sentence, while prosecutors wanted a 15-year sentence.
Balwani must also pay compensation, but the amount has not yet been determined. He will surrender on March 15.
Unlike Holmes, who was not convicted on seven of 11 fraud charges at trial, Balwani was convicted of defrauding Theranos patients in addition to defrauding the company’s wealthy investors. As Chief Operating Officer Balwani, who oversees the operation of the company’s troubled lab, has detailed knowledge of problems with its blood tests and the risks they pose to patients, prosecutors argued.
Although Balwani never rose to the level of prestige that his former partners at Theranos had, his relationship with Holmes played a major role in the intrigue surrounding the company’s collapse. Holmes and Balwani’s relationship was featured prominently in The Dropout, a Hulu miniseries about Theranos, and text messages between the two were at the center of both trials be read aloud.
Balwani was also a major part of Holmes’ defence. During the trial, she testified that Balwani had been abusive to her during their relationship, which misled her about problems at the company’s lab. Balwani did not testify at trial or speak at the sentencing hearing.
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