Ex-Theranos President Balwani found guilty on all 12 fraud charges

Another chapter in the saga of disgraced blood testing company Theranos has drawn to a close after a California jury Thursday delivered its verdict in the criminal fraud trial of Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the startup’s former president and chief operating officer.

Balwani was found guilty on all 12 counts of fraud with which he had been charged, according to The Wall Street Journal. The charges comprised 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, encompassing accusations that the former executive had defrauded Theranos’ investors and patients.

The verdict came several months after Balwani’s former business partner, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, was found guilty of just four of her own 11 fraud charges. All four were related to defrauding investors; jurors acquitted Holmes on another four charges that accused her of willfully defrauding patients and were unable to come to a unanimous decision on the remaining three charges regarding her interactions with investors.

Balwani and Holmes, who also carried on a semi-secret romantic relationship during their time at the helm of the company, are now awaiting sentencing. They face potential fines of $250,000 per guilty charge and a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

Holmes’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26, and Balwani is expected to receive his own sentence at the same time.

In each of their trials, the former executives attempted to cast blame on one another. Holmes described years of emotional and physical abuse that she’d allegedly experienced while dating and working with Balwani. Meanwhile, the legal team for her ex-partner, who denied all allegations of abuse, claimed that Balwani had merely gone along with the vision laid out by his CEO and was swept up by the potential of Holmes’ dream of a tabletop device that could run hundreds of blood tests on just a few drops of blood.

Since Holmes’ trial wrapped up in early January, she and her legal team have filed an appeal with the federal court asking for the conviction to be overturned.

In a late May filing, Holmes’ team argued that there was “insufficient evidence” for any “rational juror” to find her guilty of fraud or conspiracy to commit fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, Bloomberg reported at the time.

“Even if Ms. Holmes committed wire fraud against an investor (she did not), and even if Mr. Balwani committed wire fraud against an investor, that does not prove a conspiratorial agreement between them, nor does it prove that Ms. Holmes willfully joined any agreement,” they wrote.

The attorneys also reportedly cited former Theranos employee Erika Cheung’s testimony as a key tipping point for the guilty verdict, but argued that her claims that Holmes was aware of the flaws in the company’s blood testing machines while promoting them to investors only covered an early version of the technology.

A hearing for Holmes’ appeal is scheduled for July 21. The New York Times reports that Balwani is expected to appeal his own verdict, too.