The former president of Theranos was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison last night for defrauding investors and patients before the defunct health-tech firm’s collapse.
Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former chief operating officer of the blood testing group, faces a longer jail term than founder and former girlfriend Elizabeth Holmes.
The 155-month prison sentence for Balwani, 57, was granted over his role in deceiving Silicon Valley investors into believing Theranos, founded in 2003, had successfully created miniaturised machines that could accurately run a broad array of medical diagnostic tests from a tiny amount of blood.
Holmes, 38, was sentenced to 135 months – over 11 years – last month.
With Balwani as Holmes’ top deputy, the pair defrauded investors, including Rupert Murdoch and US pharmacy giant Walgreens, on the promise of ‘ground breaking’ blood testing technology.
But prosecutors said the company relied on traditional methods to run tests in secret and provided patients with inaccurate results.
Balwani, who launched his career as a computer programmer for Microsoft in Silicon Valley, was romantically involved with Holmes, the chief executive, until their split in 2016 following a report by The Wall Street Journal shedding light on some of the company’s failings.
During her trial, Holmes, accused Balwani of manipulating her through years of emotional and sexual abuse, allegations his lawyer has denied.