The Theranos business has just experienced a new turning point. After the conviction of Elisabeth Holmes, it is Sunny Balwani who has just fallen.
Series The Dropout available on Disney+ looks back at the true story of the Theranos company and its big boss, Elisabeth Holmes. Convicted this winter of fraud with investors, the young woman had tried a little less than 20 years ago to revolutionize the world of medicine by promising to carry out blood tests quickly and at a lower cost.
The dream was great, but so was the fraud. As the masks fall in 2016 following an investigation by John Carreyrou for the Wall Street Journal, the time is now for investigation. Six years later, Elisabeth Holmes is convicted in the most publicized trial of the year.
Balwani more responsible than Holmes?
A few months later, it was her right arm, and former spouse, Sunny Balwani who found himself in court. Accused by his ex-girlfriend of having taken advantage of her and her weaknesses, Balwani is described by Holmes’ defense as the reason for the scam behind Theranos. While the trial ended a few days ago, the jurors have given their verdict and they condemn, unanimously, Sunny Balwani for fraud against investors, but also, and this is the most surprising thing for fraud against the patients.
Of the 12 counts that were brought against him, Balwani was found guilty on all. As a reminder, during her trial at the beginning of the year, Elisabeth Holmes had only been found guilty of 4 of the 11 charges that hovered over her head. During the trial, Balwani’s defense tried, unsuccessfully, to explain that Sunny was only an investor.
Despite the very close relationship he had with Elisabeth Holmes, he was not involved in decision-making, his lawyers assured the court. By using this theory, the defense of the businessman quickly found itself in harm’s way, especially when the jury had in its possession overwhelming evidence.
More and more evidence
This is an email sent by Balwani to Elisabeth Holmes. In this one small sentence caught the attention of the court. Balwani explains that he is “responsible for everything” at Theranos. Words that must have had significant weight in the deliberations of the jurors. In addition to that email, a former Walgreens employee testified against Balwani, indicting him even further.
As a reminder, Walgreens worked with Theranos and 41 health centers were equipped with defective Theranos machines which carried out tests with very little precision. This led to false diagnoses and therefore put the lives of several patients at risk. If Walgreens was not aware of Theranos’ actions, the company’s executives confirmed during the investigation that they had discussed at length with Holmes, but also, and above all, with Balwani, making his guilt obvious.
With the San José court having delivered its verdict, Sunny Balwani is now awaiting sentencing. He faces several decades in prison, just like Elisabeth Holmes. They should both be fixed before the end of the year.