Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former chief operating officer and ex-boyfriend of Theranos creator Elizabeth Holmes, has reported to prison, according to his attorney.
Balwani’s counsel, Jeffrey Coopersmith, sent an email on Thursday stating, “Mr. Balwani turned himself in… without incident.” We will continue to advocate on his behalf because we do not believe he received a fair trial.
Balwani’s arrest represents the conclusion of a years-long saga in which he went from being a top executive at a successful Silicon Valley company to being one of the few tech executives convicted of fraud.
Balwani was initially indicted alongside Holmes nearly five years ago, and he was found guilty of all 12 offenses he faced in July of last year. These included ten counts of federal wire fraud and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy. In December of last year, he was given a prison term of nearly 13 years. Balwani’s previous request to remain free while appealing his conviction was denied.
Holmes has been ordered to turn herself in on April 27 after being convicted of multiple counts of investor fraud.
Theranos, a company once valued at $9 billion, attracted top investors and retail partners with claims that it had developed technology to test for a variety of conditions using only a few droplets of blood.
The company began to disintegrate after a 2015 Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that Theranos had performed only a handful of the hundreds of tests it offered using its proprietary technology, with dubious accuracy.
Balwani first encountered Holmes in 2002, before she dropped out of Stanford. Balwani is nearly 20 years older than Holmes. During the earliest days of Theranos, he functioned as an informal advisor to Holmes, and the two went on to develop a romantic relationship. Balwani guaranteed a “multimillion-dollar loan” to the venture in 2009, according to court documents, and assumed the position of president and COO.
Although Holmes and Balwani were indicted at the same time, their trials were separated after Holmes indicated she intended to accuse Balwani of sexually, emotionally, and psychologically assaulting her during their decade-long relationship, which coincided with Holmes’ tenure as CEO. Her allegations have been refuted by Balwani’s attorneys.
During her trial, Holmes asserted that Balwani attempted to exert control over nearly every aspect of her life, including her eating, her voice, and her appearance, in addition to isolating her from others.
Holmes testified that although he didn’t control her interactions with investors, business partners, and others, “he impacted everything about who I was, and I don’t fully understand that.”