As per the New York Times, a US judge on Wednesday sentenced former Theranos Inc President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to 12 years and 11 months in prison on allegations of defrauding investors and patients of the blood testing startup led by Elizabeth Holmes, a spokesperson for the US attorney’s office confirmed.
In San Jose, California, a US District Judge Edward Davila imposed the sentence on Balwani, who was convicted by a jury on two counts of conspiracy and 10 counts of fraud in July.
Prosecutors said Balwani, 57, plotted with Holmes, 38, to swindle Silicon Valley investors into believing the company had achieved miniaturised machines that could accurately run a broad array of medical diagnostic tests from a small amount of blood.
According to the prosecutors, the company secretly depended on traditional methods to run tests during this time and provided patients with false reports.
Holmes foundedd the company as a college student and became its public face, and was indicted alongside Balwani, her former romantic partner, in 2018.
Davila later granted each a separate trial after Holmes said she would take the stand and testify that Balwani was abusive in their relationship. He has denied the charges.
In January 2022, Holmes was convicted on four counts of fraud and conspiracy but acquitted of swindling patients.
At a hearing last month, Davila sentenced Holmes to 11-1/4 years in prison, calling Theranos a venture “dashed by untruths, misrepresentations, plain hubris and lies.”
Moreover, prosecutors further argued Balwani should receive 15 years in prison, saying he knew Theranos’ tests were false from overseeing the company’s laboratory operations, and decided to “prioritize Theranos’ financial health over patients’ real health.”
However, the probation office had recommended a nine-year sentence.
Balwani’s attorneys pleaded for a sentence of probation, arguing that he sought to make the world a better place through Theranos and was not motivated by fame or greed.
Theranos, once valued at $9 billion, promised to revolutionize how patients receive diagnoses by replacing traditional labs with small machines designed for use in homes, drugstores and even on the battlefield.
The company fell after a series of Wall Street Journal articles in 2015 questioned its technology.