A jury on Thursday convicted former Theranos executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of collaborating with disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes in a massive fraud involving the blood-testing company that once enthralled Silicon Valley.
The 12 jurors found Balwani guilty on all 12 felony counts of defrauding both Theranos investors and the patients who relied on wildly unreliable blood tests that could have jeopardized their health.
Balwani sat impassively as the verdicts were read, blinking frequently.
The outcome puts Balwani and Holmes in similar situations. Holmes was convicted on four counts of investor fraud and conspiracy earlier this year. During that trial, Holmes tearfully accused Balwani of sexually and emotionally abusing her while they were lovers. An attorney for Balwani has vehemently denied those charges.
Both Holmes, 38, and Balwani, 57, face up to 20 years in prison.
After the verdicts, US District Judge Edward Davila raised Balwani’s bail to $750,000 from $500,000 and set Nov. 15 as his sentencing date. Holmes, who is free on $500,000 bail, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 26.
The dual convictions represent a resounding victory for federal prosecutors, who seized on the Theranos case as a rare opportunity to hold ambitious entrepreneurs accountable for engaging in technological hyperbole while pursuing fame and fortune. In the process, they hoped to discourage the practice of making bold and unproven promises about still-nascent products — a startup strategy known as “fake it until you make it.”
After the verdicts were read and the jury was dismissed, Balwani walked over to his two brothers, who were sitting behind him, for what appeared to be a solemn discussion. The three sat quietly, heads bowed.