In yet another blow to Theranos, its ex.-President and Chief Operating Officer Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani on Wednesday was sentenced to 13 years in prison for defrauding investors and patients of the blood testing start-up.
He ran the firm alongside its founder and Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Holmes.
A US District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, pronounced the verdict. Balwani’s lawyers sought home detention or supervised release on probation. Davila last month ordered Holmes to serve 11 1/4 years in prison.
Like the case with Holmes, the judge said he’ll decide later how much restitution Balwani must pay. The government has asked for both to be ordered to pay about $800 million.
The 57-year-old ex-CEO chose to remain silent as the judge sentenced him.
“We are disappointed with the outcome,” his attorney, Jeffrey Coopersmith, said in a statement. “We respectfully disagree and plan to appeal.”
According to media reports, Balwani and Holmes allegedly started dating when they were coworkers. They each faced separate trials and were found guilty of lying about the reliability and capabilities of Theranos' blood-testing equipment. By performing a variety of health tests with just a few drops of blood, the duo vowed to revolutionise the medical sector.
As problems cropped up, the company once valued at $9 billion fell apart amid regulatory crackdowns and shareholder lawsuits.
The collapse of the startup and the indictment of Holmes, who became a celebrity Silicon Valley entrepreneur, inspired books, a documentary and a television series. Holmes was convicted of defrauding investors in January.
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