Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the ex-boyfriend of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and former chief operating officer of the failed startup Theranos, has reported to prison, according to his counsel.
Jeffrey Coopersmith, Balwani’s attorney, said on Thursday, “Mr. Balwani turned himself in… without incident” “We will continue to fight for him because we do not believe that he received a fair trial.”
Balwani’s arrest signals the end 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.
Indicted for the first time alongside Holmes nearly five years ago, Balwani was found guilty of all 12 offenses he faced in July of last year, including ten counts of federal wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In December of last year, he was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison. Previously, Balwani’s request to remain free while he appeals his conviction was denied.
Holmes has been ordered to surrender on April 27 after being found guilty of multiple counts of fraud against investors.
Theranos, which was 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.
After a Wall Street Journal investigation in 2015 revealed that Theranos had performed only a handful of the hundreds of tests it offered using its proprietary technology, with questionable accuracy, the company began to fall apart.
Balwani, who is nearly 20 years older than Holmes, encountered her for the first time in 2002, prior to her dropping out of Stanford. In the early days of Theranos, he functioned as an informal advisor to Holmes, and the two became romantically involved.
According to court documents, Balwani guaranteed a “multimillion-dollar loan” to the venture in 2009 and assumed the position of president and chief operating officer.
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 over the course of their decade-long relationship, which coincided with Holmes’ tenure as CEO. (The attorneys for Balwani have denied her claims.)
During her trial, Holmes claimed Balwani attempted to control nearly every aspect of her life, including her diet, voice, and appearance, as well as her social isolation.
Holmes testified that although he did not control her interactions with investors, business partners, and others, “he impacted everything about who I was, and I don’t fully understand that.”