Today's Clinical Lab - News, Editorial and Products for the Clinical Laboratory
Photo of a gavel.
Balwani was convicted of all 12 fraud charges he faced in July 2022.
iStock, Ivan-balvan

Theranos COO Gets 13 Years behind Bars for Fraud Scheme

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani was sentenced to 155 months in prison for his role in the Theranos blood testing scandal

Photo portrait of rachel muenz
Rachel Muenz
Photo portrait of rachel muenz

Rachel Muenz is the managing editor of G2 Intelligence and was previously senior digital content editor at Lab Manager, a publication dedicated to teaching lab professionals the management skills they need to run their laboratories as effectively as possible. She has more than 10 years of experience as a writer, editor, and curator of both print and digital content, with the majority focused on laboratory topics. Rachel holds an honors bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Toronto and a diploma in journalism from Centennial College. Rachel regularly contributes news and insights to Today's Clinical Lab.

ViewFull Profile
Learn about ourEditorial Policies.
Published:Dec 20, 2022
|2 min read
Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify

“Ramesh Balwani, in a desire to become a Silicon Valley titan, valued business success and personal wealth far more than patient safety. He chose deceit over candor with patients in need of medical care, and he treated his investors no better. Today’s sentence should serve as a lesson to anyone considering fraud in their own push for success.”

That was the statement U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds put out through her office on December 7 after Balwani, the former chief operating officer of failed blood testing company Theranos, was sentenced to just shy of 13 years in prison for his role in a well-publicized fraud scheme.

In the scheme, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani and former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes duped investors and others into believing their company’s blood testing technology was faster, cheaper, and more accurate and reliable than it actually was, deceiving investors out of “hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to the statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California. In reality, the “analyzer performed only a few basic tests and was slower than existing devices.” Theranos even had to resort to using third-party technology to perform its tests, a fact the company concealed from the public and investors. 

Worse than that, despite protests from Theranos staff, the company offered its faulty technology to patients for testing, leading to “numerous misdiagnoses,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office states.

“Patients and their doctors rely on accurate, reliable test results to ensure a proper diagnosis of their condition. When individuals jeopardize patient health and put profits above the public health, the FDA will continue to investigate and bring them to justice,” said FDA Assistant Commissioner for Criminal Investigations Catherine A. Hermsen in the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release.

For his role in the fraud scheme, Balwani was convicted of all 12 fraud charges he faced in July 2022, while Holmes was only found guilty of four of the 11 charges she faced relating to the scheme, thus receiving a slightly lighter sentence of just over 11 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Balwani also faces three years of supervised release after his time in prison. He is required to begin his prison term on March 15, 2023, and must also pay a yet-to-be-determined amount in restitution. 

To learn more, see the news report on G2 Intelligence, a partner brand of  Today’s Clinical Lab.