Ex-Theranos executive Sunny Balwani sentenced to 13 years

Former Theranos chief operating officer Sunny Balwani was sentenced to 13 years in prison after being convicted of fraud for his role in the failed blood testing company.

He must also serve three years of supervised release, the federal judge ordered.

He has been ordered to surrender to authorities on March 15 to begin serving the sentence, a little over six weeks earlier than company CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

Balwani showed no reaction in court as the sentence was announced. 

Balwani was dating Holmes and was convicted earlier this year on all 12 counts of deceiving patients and investors in the company that was once valued at $9 billion. Holmes, comparatively, was convicted on only four of the 12.

Prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila to sentence Balwani to 15 years in prison along with over $800 million in restitution.

Balwani was offered a chance to speak during sentencing by Davila but refused.

His defense attorneys asked that he be sentenced to probation and no prison time because he lost millions of his own investment in the company. 

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"I respectfully disagree with the result in the case. We're disappointed in the outcome, and we plan to appeal and keep on fighting for our client, Mr. Balwani," said Jeff Cooper, Balwani's attorney. 

Balwani did ask the judge that should his appeal fail, he'd like to be sent to a minimum-security prison in the southern California city of Lompoc.

Many of Balwani's family members were present during the sentencing, including his brothers - something Judge Davila pointed out.

Davila commented how Balwani paid for his brother's education.

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Holmes was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in federal prison in November and is out of custody while her appeal is pending.

The discrepancy in their sentences was due to the culpability Holmes and Balwani had in the fraud the judge said, basing his decision on their actions within the company despite it being the same case. The judge noted an example by commenting when Balwani ran the testing lab, patients often received incorrect results, such as testing positive for HIV or being told of having a miscarriage.

Holmes was given a self-surrender date of April 27, which likely allows her to complete her pregnancy before she begins serving her term.

Both are due to return to San Jose to determine how much they will pay in restitution, a total Judge Davila calculated to be near $120 million.