Former Theranos President Sunny Balwani Delays Start of Prison Sentence In Blood-testing Startup Fraud
- The 57-year-old Indian American was scheduled to surrender to authorities on March 16, but his lawyer filed documents notifying U.S. District Judge Edward Davila that he would not.
Former Theranos President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani has delayed the start of his nearly 13-year prison sentence for his role in a blood-testing hoax he orchestrated with his former lover, founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes. The 57-year-old Indian American was scheduled to surrender to authorities on March 16, but his lawyer filed documents notifying U.S. District Judge Edward Davila of the contrary, according to news reports.
The notice cited a last-minute appeal of Davila’s ruling, rejecting Balwani’s request to remain free while attempting to overturn his conviction on 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy. The appeal, filed on March 15, triggered an automatic stay of his prison reporting date, which had been set for 2 p.m. PST, the following day.
It is currently unclear how long it will take for the appeals court to deal with the ruling, leaving the start of Balwani’s prison sentence in limbo. He has been free on bail since a jury convicted him last July, “triggering a clause that allows him to remain free on bail until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals weighs in on Davila’s ruling issued last week,” news reports said, citing the notice filed by Balwani’s attorney Jeffrey Coopersmith.
CBS noted that “Balwani’s last-minute appeal demonstrates his continued fight to overturn his conviction and avoid serving time in prison.”
Last month, he filed a memo fighting the $900 million restitution order the government is seeking for investors, legal news service Law360 has reported. In a memo filed on Feb. 10, he told a California federal judge that the restitution order is “beyond anyone’s ability to pay.” He said the calculation is “plagued” by several errors.
In January, he asked the court to let him stay out of prison as he appeals his sentence for defrauding investors and patients, arguing he does not pose a flight risk or a danger to the community. Federal prosecutors strongly opposed the request, pointing to his family abroad as a means and motive for him to flee.
Balwani was employed with Theranos from September 2009 through July 2016 and held positions of a board member, chief operating officer and president. He and Holmes were charged in 2018. According to the indictment unsealed on June 15, 2018, the pair had engaged in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors and a separate scheme to defraud doctors and patients, and both schemes entailed promotion.