Health, Wellness & Biotech

Former Theranos Executive Sunny Balwani Found Guilty Of Fraud

Illustration of gloved hand holding vial of blood-shadow is scales of justice.

Former Theranos president Sunny Balwani was found guilty of fraud on Thursday, according to reports.

Balwani was convicted on 12 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to NBC News. Balwani’s conviction follows the conviction of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes of four counts of wire fraud.

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Holmes was acquitted on four other charges, and three charges were dismissed because the jury couldn’t reach a consensus, according to The New York Times.

Theranos investigation saga

Balwani’s conviction caps a years-long investigation into Theranos, once a high-flying Silicon Valley startup. A 2015 investigation by the Wall Street Journal raised questions about the efficacy of Theranos’ blood testing technology, and the company eventually shut down in 2018. Also in 2018, Balwani and Holmes were charged with fraud.

Holmes and Balwani first met when she was 18 and he was 37 in 2002 when the pair were part of a language immersion program in China. Balwani supported Holmes when she decided to drop out of Stanford University, and their relationship eventually became romantic. They lived together from around 2005 to 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Holmes and Balwani broke up, and Holmes accused him of abuse during her own fraud trial, which Balwani’s attorney denied. You can read more about Balwani’s past here.

Balwani was heavily involved in Theranos, first providing a $13 million personal loan to Holmes in 2009 and shortly after becoming its president and chief operating officer. He also invested in the blood testing company, which was backed by the likes of Walgreens and Rupert Murdoch.

With Balwani’s conviction, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count of fraud. Holmes and Balwani are expected to be sentenced together in September, according to The New York Times.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman

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