RAMESH "Sunny" Balwani is the former boyfriend of Elizabeth Holmes, the former chief of the blood-testing startup Theranos, Inc.
In 2018, Balwani was charged alongside Holmes for alleged fraud and conspiracy for tricking investors and doctors to help fund the company, and allegedly providing false medical results to patients.
Who is Elizabeth Holmes' ex-boyfriend Sunny Balwani?
Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, 57, is an American businessman and the ex-president and chief operating officer of Theranos, a health technology company founded by his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Holmes.
Balwani was born in Pakistan to a Sindhi Hindu family who emigrated to the United States.
He studied information systems at the University of Texas at Austin before attending Berkeley where he met Holmes.
Balwani was 37 years old at the time when he met Holmes who was 18 and a senior in high school.
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They reportedly started a romantic relationship after Holmes dropped out of Stanford University in March 2004 to start Theranos at only 19 years old.
Balwani joined the company in 2009 and quickly rose up the ranks from Vice President to Chief Operating Officer.
It is believed he split from Theranos in 2016 when he left the company.
During Holmes’ trial, her lawyers argued that her ex-boyfriend and business partner sexually abused and emotionally controlled her at the time of the alleged crimes, impairing her mental state.
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Balwani has strongly denied allegations of abuse in a 2019 court filing and has called the claims "outrageous."
Is Elizabeth Holmes on trial?
Holmes was on trial from August 2021 to January 2022 on 11 federal charges related to the allegations.
She was found guilty of 11 counts of fraud and conspiracy on January 3, 2022.
A document issued by the United States Department of Justice said Holmes and Balwani "claimed that Theranos developed a revolutionary and proprietary analyzer …" and "claimed the analyzer was able to perform a full range of clinical tests using small blood samples drawn from a finger stick."
The document claimed both Holmes and Balwani knew the Theranos analyzer was producing false results, adding, "The defendants also represented that the analyzer could produce results that were more accurate and reliable than those yielded by conventional methods – all at a faster speed than previously possible."
Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison per charge, $250,000 in fines per charge, and restitution.
Was Sunny Balwani convicted?
Balwani was convicted on all 12 felony counts for defrauding Theranos investors and the patients.
The jury of five men and seven women came to a decision four full days after closing arguments and found him guilty on ten counts of federal wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Balwani, who was also the company’s president, pleaded not guilty to nine charges of fraud and two counts of conspiracy fraud.
The accusations come after Theranos claimed it had invented the revolutionary machine that could conduct hundreds of laboratory tests from a single finger-prick of blood.
However, patients and doctors claimed the results were false, leading to misdiagnosis.
Balwani’s attorney, Jeffrey Coopersmith, said in a statement, "We are obviously disappointed with the verdicts.
"We plan to study and consider all of Mr. Balwani’s options including an appeal."
The verdict comes seven months after Holmes was convicted in January on 11 counts of fraud and conspiracy. One wire fraud charge was dropped.
Holmes will be sentenced on September 26, 2022, and a judge has set Balwani's sentencing for November 15, 2022.
Similarly to Holmes, Balwani faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $250k, and restitution on each count of wire fraud and conspiracy.
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After leaving the courthouse, US Attorney Stephanie Hinds thanked jurors for “dutifully navigating through the complex issues presented by this case.”
She added, "We appreciate the verdict and look forward to sentencing proceedings.”
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