Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh « Sunny » Balwani, the former CEO and COO of Theranos, respectively, engaged in a years-long workplace relationship that ended when Balwani left the company in 2016. The couple’s paths converged while they were enrolled in Stanford University’s Mandarin Program. Holmes founded Theranos in 2003, and while it’s not clear exactly when her relationship with Balwani became romantic, it appeared to be around the time she dropped out of Stanford. Balwani lent Holmes’ then-financially insecure company $13 million, and about six months later, he became the president and COO of Theranos. Tapes of the couple’s 2017 deposition shared by ABC News reveal that they did not disclose their romantic relationship to Theranos investors. In 2018, Holmes was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with what it called an « elaborate, years-long fraud. » In January 2022, following a four-month trial, Holmes was found guilty on three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy, and she was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, with three years of supervised release. After Balwani was found guilty on 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy in July 2022, he was sentenced to almost 13 years in prison, with three years of probation.
The couple’s relationship was not only romantic but also professional, with Balwani lending Holmes’ company $13 million and becoming its president and COO. They did not disclose their relationship to Theranos investors, and the company’s fraudulent practices eventually led to its downfall. Holmes was charged with fraud in 2018 and found guilty in 2022, while Balwani was found guilty in 2022 and sentenced to almost 13 years in prison. The couple’s relationship was also reportedly abusive, with Holmes accusing Balwani of a « decade-long campaign of psychological abuse » against her. Despite their different upbringings, their paths converged while they were enrolled in Stanford University’s Mandarin Program.
Keywords: Elizabeth Holmes, Ramesh « Sunny » Balwani, Theranos, fraud, relationship, Stanford University, wire fraud, conspiracy, prison sentence.
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