Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ right-hand man and former boyfriend, has been convicted of 12 fraud counts in federal court in San Jose, California.
Balwani was accused of defrauding investors as well as patients putting money into Holmes’ biotech firm. In total, he faced 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The biotech startup’s Chief Operating Officer was formerly charged with past business partner Holmes, who was found guilty of four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud against investors in January.
His tasks at Theranos included overseeing the company’s relationship with Walgreens, monitoring labs and managing software, finances and investor relationships.
The businessman met Holmes before she started college, and his investment of $10 million into the company kept Holmes afloat while he came aboard as Vice President and then moved up.
Balwani, who is 20 years older than Holmes, also became her romantic partner in Theranos’ rise to the top of Silicon Valley before Holmes’ blood test model proved less successful than she advertised and she was exposed for scamming big-name investors like Oracle’s Larry Ellison and venture capitalist Tim Draper.
The downfall of Theranos gathered spotlight from several streamer projects like Hulu’s “The Dropout” and an HBO documentary. These visual exposés arrived alongside Apple’s “WeCrashed” and Netflix’s “Inventing Anna” and “The Tinder Swindler,” which contributed to the flood of fraud stories earlier this year.
In “The Dropout,” Naveen Andrews portrays Balwani opposite Amanda Seyfried’s Elizabeth Holmes.
Balwani did not testify during his trial. Holmes did take the stand at hers. With verdicts now reached, sentences for the pair are expected to arrive in September. Holmes could face up to 20 years in prison.