Former Theranos head guilty of defrauding investors, patients

WASHINGTON • A jury in the US has convicted former Theranos president Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani of defrauding investors and patients about the blood testing start-up that was once valued at US$9 billion (S$12.6 billion).

The jury in San Jose, California, deliberated for a little more than five days before convicting Balwani on Thursday on two counts of conspiracy and 10 counts of fraud, said a spokesman for US Attorney Stephanie Hinds.

Sentencing was set for Nov 15.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who initially faced the same charges, was convicted on three counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy at a separate trial in January. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept 26.

They got separate trials after Holmes said she would testify that Balwani was abusive towards her in their romantic relationship. Balwani denied the allegations.

Balwani's attorney Jeffrey Coopersmith said the defence was "obviously disappointed with the verdicts" and would consider all options including an appeal.

Balwani and Holmes were charged in 2018 with lying to investors about the company's finances and its machines' ability to run a broad range of tests from a few drops of blood. Prosecutors also charged the pair with duping patients about the tests' accuracy.

Theranos investors were drawn to Holmes, with her deep, authoritative voice, black Steve Jobs-esque turtleneck and her promise to upend the laboratory testing industry by creating portable machines that could run a broad array of tests.

The company touted work with drugmakers, pharmacies and the US military and received investments from media mogul Rupert Murdoch, among others.

Theranos collapsed after the Wall Street Journal published a series of articles, starting in 2015, that suggested its devices were flawed and inaccurate.


Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2022, with the headline Former Theranos head guilty of defrauding investors, patients. Subscribe