Sunny Balwani, Former Theranos President, Found Guilty on Multiple Counts of Fraud

Sunny Balwani
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Balwani is Elizabeth Holmes’ ex-boyfriend and former Theranos executive, whose story was depicted in 'The Dropout.'

Sunny Balwani, former Theranos president and Elizabeth Holmes’ ex-boyfriend, was found guilty in the criminal fraud case surrounding the downfall of the biotech startup. The verdict comes after a lengthy trial, which first started in March, the same month The Dropout, a true-crime series depicting the rise and fall of Theranos, premiered on Hulu.

After four full days of deliberation, the jury determined that Balwani was guilty of all 12 criminal fraud charges brought against him. While his sentencing date has not been set, each wire fraud charge could lead up to 20 years max in prison. Additionally, the conspiracy charges carry a maximum of five years. 

First indicted in 2018, Balwani pleaded not guilty to charges for allegedly defrauding investors and patients after Theranos was exposed in the press for lying about a groundbreaking blood-sampling machine that investors believed would revolutionize the healthcare industry. In total, Balwani, now 57, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine charges of wire fraud related to his time at the company. 

As ET previously reported, Balwani’s trial finally started this spring, after several delays due to the pandemic, and the ability to find a jury that had not seen the hit true-crime series, which starred Naveen Andrews as the disgraced executive. At the time, his lawyer argued that he did not start the company nor did he control it. The prosecution, meanwhile, claimed that Balwani and Holmes “were partners in everything, including their crimes.” 

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Balwani’s verdict comes seven months after Holmes was charged and convicted on four similar charges of fraud. Holmes, meanwhile, is still awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for September, 2022. 

As mentioned earlier, Balwani and Holmes’ stories were both captured in the Hulu series adapted by showrunner Elizabeth Meriwether. The eight-part saga depicts the many accusations of paranoia and deceit allegedly conducted by Balwani at the time. 

Despite that, “I believe their intentions were good. The idea was good. And somewhere along the way, something happened and they crossed into uncharted territory, which is hard to define,” Andrews said, explaining that he and co-star Amanda Seyfried, who played Holmes, wanted to portray the former couple as “human beings without judgment.”