A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced former Theranos president and chief operating officer Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani to a prison term of 12 years and 11 months, followed by three years of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila ordered Balwani to report to serve his sentence on March 15, 2023.
Last month, Balwani's co-conspirator and former lover, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, received a term of 11 years and three months, with a surrender date of April 27, 2023.
Balwani was convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy in July for his role in the implosion of the now-defunct Theranos, which was based in Palo Alto, after its much-touted fingerstick blood-testing technology failed.
Although Balwani and Holmes were charged in the same indictment, the cases were tried separately.
The jury verdict in the Balwani case was significantly harsher than that in the Holmes case. The Holmes jury convicted her of four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy against investors, acquitted her of four counts related to patients who underwent Theranos' lab tests and did not reach a verdict on three additional investor-related charges.
Balwani, by contrast, was convicted of all 12 of the charges brought against him.
Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Balwani to a 15-year term, arguing that because of financial models prepared by Balwani and other fraudulent statements, "investors believed they were investing in a company that was going to receive significant income" in the very near future.
The defense countered that Balwani took a backseat role and played a much more low-key role than Holmes in the overall scheme.
"Even if you think that Ms. Holmes was Icarus and flew too close to the sun, Mr. Balwani was not Icarus," defense attorney Jeffrey Coopersmith said.
Balwani exercised his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and did not address the court at the sentencing.
In explaining his decision, Davila pointed out "the disruption between this genius idea (of a revolutionary health technology) ... and wire fraud."
Balwani and Holmes, the judge said, "continued to perpetuate the fraud" even when they knew "that they could not produce what they said they could produce to their investors ... That's the disruption ... that prevented Theranos from going forward with this technology that had so much promise."