Former Theranos executive Sunny Balwani found guilty on all 12 charges

Former Theranos executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani was found guilty of 12 federal criminal fraud charges on Thursday, making him the second high-level leader of the now-defunct blood testing firm convicted of deceiving investors about its failed technology.

A California jury in San Jose agreed with prosecutors that Balwani, 58, took part in scamming investors in an elaborate scheme with disgraced Theranos founder and president Elizabeth Holmes, his former girlfriend.

Holmes was convicted in January of one charge of conspiracy and three charges of fraud for her role in the scam. She was originally accused on 11 charges, and the jury could not reach a verdict on three of them.

Theranos Sunny Balwani

Sunny Balwani, former president of Theranos Inc., arrives at federal court in San Jose, California, US, on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Balwani faces ten counts of wire fraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit it. (Photographer: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Holmes, 37, launched the company in 2003 at the age of 19 after dropping out of Stanford University. She dazzled Silicon Valley and investors alike with claims that she had developed a revolutionary technology that could diagnose upwards of 200 diseases with just a few drops of a patient’s blood.

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Balwani became Theranos ‘chief operating officer in 2010, serving as Holmes’ deputy and pouring $ 15 million of his own funds into the business. The couple had dated for years before he joined the company, but kept their romance a secret.

Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos

Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos CEO and the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, in an interview on September 29, 2015 (David Orrell / CNBC / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Investors poured more than $ 900 million into Theranos, making Holmes a billionaire on paper at the company’s peak. But things began to unravel in 2015 after The Wall Street Journal exposed that Theranos was actually using traditional blood-testing machines for testing rather than its own technology.

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The next year, Holmes dumped Balwani both as her business partner and lover. The company shuttered in 2018, the same year both of them were indicted.

During her trial, Holmes took the stand and pointed blame at Balwani, saying that he mislead her about the effectiveness of Theranos’ technology. She also accused him of emotional and sexual abuse, claims which he denied.

Elizabeth Holmes

Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes goes through a security checkpoint as she arrives for her trial at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building on November 17, 2021 in San Jose, California. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / Getty Images)

Balwani did not speak in his own defense during his trial, where his attorneys portrayed him as a benevolent investor who became wrapped up in Holmes’ scheme. Prosecutors argued that Balwani was an active participant in the fraud, who assisted Holmes in duping investors.

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Holmes is expected to be sentenced this fall, and Balwani’s sentencing date has not yet been set. Both of them face up to 20 years in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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