HomeIndian AmericanBalwani gets 13 years in Theranos blood testing scandal

Balwani gets 13 years in Theranos blood testing scandal

A federal judge in San Jose sentenced Theranos co-conspirator Sunny Balwani to 13 years in prison Wednesday, reports CNN.

The sentence on 12 felony counts of defrauding Theranos investors and patients is two years more than CEO Elizabeth Holmes received.

A jury found Holmes guilty in January of four counts of fraud and did not convict her of defrauding patients.

Both defendants say they plan to appeal the verdicts.

“Mr Balwani is not the same as Elizabeth Holmes,” his lawyers wrote to the judge before the sentencing, according to the BBC. “He actually invested millions of dollars of his own money; he never sought fame or recognition; and he has a long history of quietly giving to those less fortunate.”

Prosecutors say they both are to blame.

“There is an unfortunate saying in Silicon Valley: ‘Fake it ‘til you make it.’ Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani stretched this idea to a place much farther than the law allows and in so doing put vast amounts of investor dollars at risk,” said Stephanie Hinds, US Attorney for the Northern District of California, in a statement to CNN. “Significantly, today the court also made clear that Sunny Balwani’s decision to deceive doctors and patients also put the health of patients at risk. Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani now will be justly punished for their illegal conduct.”

The two defendants developed a romantic relationship after meeting in China where both sought to learn Mandarin. Balwani who is 19 years older than Holmes first advised her on the blood testing enterprise, but later became the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

The company began to unravel when former employees Erika Cheung and Tyler Shultz, the nephew of former Secretary of State George Schultz, blew the whistle on the company to the Wall Street Journal.

The company raised $945 million from investors on the promise that it could test for numerous health conditions with just a few drops of blood.

Cheung and Schultz both revealed the questionable accuracy of product testing and that only a dozen and not hundreds of tests were performed.

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