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Balwani Gets 13-Year Term In Theranos Fraud Case

A federal judge in California sentenced former Theranos executive Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani to nearly 13 years in prison for his role in a multimillion-dollar fraud involving Theranos and its now-disgraced CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, who received an 11-year sentence in a separate trial. In July, a jury found Balwani guilty on all 12 felony counts of defrauding Theranos investors and the patients that used the company's unreliable blood tests, NPR reports. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila's sentence for Balwani is less than federal prosecutors' request for at least 15 years in prison, but far more than Balwani's attorney's plea for just a few months in prison.

Holmes was convicted of four wire-fraud-related counts and sentenced to a little over 11 years in prison last month. Balwani's attorneys said in court Wednesday that he should be judged differently from Holmes. Balwani invested nearly $5 million of his own money into Theranos and lost it all. "Mr. Balwani is not the same as Elizabeth Holmes: 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 (dating to well before his time at Theranos) without seeking recognition or benefit," Balwani's attorneys said. "All these attributes define who Mr. Balwani truly is." Balwani was Theranos' second in command and Holmes' former romantic partner, though Holmes has claimed the older-Balwani sexually and emotionally abused her during their relationship. Balwani has denied the allegations.


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