Health, Wellness & Biotech

Theranos’ Sunny Balwani Receives 13-Year Prison Sentence

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

Former Theranos president and COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani was sentenced to 155 months, or just under 13 years, in prison for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The news comes weeks after founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years for defrauding investors.

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While both Holmes and Balwani faced similar charges, Holmes was acquitted of charges related to defrauding patients, whereas Balwani’s wire fraud charges applied to both patients and investors. For risking patient health, Balwani received a longer sentence than Holmes.

Balwani’s Silicon Valley legacy

Balwani was long entrenched in the early years of Silicon Valley, working at Microsoft before building an e-commerce startup called, which was later acquired before the dot com bubble burst. Using his wealth from the acquisition, Balwani funded the early days of Theranos.

The company quickly raised $1.4 billion, per Crunchbase data, and garnered big-name investors like Rupert Murdoch, Walgreens and Oracle executive Larry Ellison.

When the U.S. brought the case against Balwani and Holmes in 2018, both parties waged bitter campaigns, accusing each other of controlling the majority of the business decisions and lying to investors.

Balwani’s sentence is far from the end of the Theranos saga — Holmes appealed her conviction earlier in December, and Balwani is likely to do the same.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman

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