Concluding remarks in the case of Sunni Balwani

For months, Ramesh Balwani’s lawyers have sought to distinguish him from Elizabeth Holmes, his ex-girlfriend and business partner at the failed blood test company Theranos.

Ms. Holmes was found guilty in January of defrauding startup investors. Mr Balwani is seeking a different outcome in his own fraud case.

But on Tuesday, in the closing statements of Mr. Balwani’s trial, the prosecution linked him directly to years of fraud in Ms. Holmes and Theranos. Jeffrey Schenk, assistant U.S. attorney and one of the leading prosecutors in the case, showed a text message that Mr. Bluwani had sent to Ms. Holmes in 2015, which was used as evidence in the trial.

“I am responsible for everything in Theranos,” Mr Balwani wrote. “Everything is my decision.”

The text message was a confession of guilt, adding that he was “acknowledging his role in the fraud.”

The presentation limited the testimony of Mr. Balwani to more than three months, which largely reflected Ms. Holmes’ last fall. Ms. Holmes and Mr. Bluwani, 57, were accused of exaggerating the capabilities and business performance of Theranos’ blood testing machines in 2018 when, in fact, the products did not work and its business He was in trouble. Both pleaded not guilty. Ms. Holmes was convicted on four of the 11 charges.

Ms Holmes’ high-profile case was less than blatant in the case of Mr Balwani, better known as Sunni. However, it serves as a coda for the declining period of early development that often relied on hype and hyperbole. Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani are among the few tech executives ever prosecuted for fraud.

Just as Ms. Holmes tried to accuse others of fraud in Theranos, Mr. Balwani pointed the finger at her. Throughout the trial, his lawyers argued that many of Thiranos’ blood tests had worked. And he said that Miss Holmes controlled Theranos, not Mr Balwani. He was due to begin his concluding argument later on Tuesday.

Ms. Holmes, now 38, met with Mr. Balwani when she was 18. They began dating years later, when Ms. Holmes founded Theranos. In 2009, Mr. Balwani invested in Theranos and became its chief operating officer, eventually taking charge of his lab. The couple kept their relationship a secret and lived together in a large, spacious home in Atherton, California.

In 2016, when Thiranos was criticized for lying about his blood testing abilities, Mr Bluwani left the company and separated from Ms Holmes. The couple were accused of cheating together, but Ms Holmes argued in a filing to separate the cases and accused Mr Balwani of emotional and sexual abuse. Her trial included dramatic testimony that recounted the charges. The issue was dropped from Mr Balwani’s case.

In order to convict Mr. Balwani, the prosecution must convince the judges that he deliberately lied to investors and patients about Thiranos’ blood tests and business dealings.

The prosecution sought to implicate Mr Balwani for the financial estimates that Thiranos showed to investors and the condition of his labs. New witnesses included investors and executives who dealt directly with Mr. Bluwani instead of Ms. Holmes.

A projection presented to investors in October 2014 showed that Theranos would bring in 140 140 million this year. In fact, income was limited. The following year, Mr. Balwani estimated investor revenue to be approximately $ 1 billion. Theranus’ internal estimates were meager, the evidence showed, and the reality was close to zero.

A new witness, Patrick Manden Hall, who dealt directly with Mr. Blavani while investing in Theranos, outlined promises that turned out to be misleading or false.

Brian Grossman, an investor in hedge fund PFM Health Sciences who was also a witness in Ms. Holmes ‘case, testified that Mr. Balwani provided his team with a financial estimate that exceeded Theranos’ expected income.

“When Mr. Balwani talks to an investor, it’s for a purpose, and the purpose is to deceive them into making money,” said Mr Schenk.

The prosecution also emphasized the role of Mr Balwani in running Theranos’ lab, which the executive described as a “disaster zone” in a 2014 text message that was used as evidence. Mr Blavani will also “resolve differences” by intimidating or pushing employees who are concerned about the therapeutic tests, such as Dr Adam Rosandorf, a former lab director who testified in both trials, Mr Schenk said.

Notable witnesses were James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense and a member of the Theranos Board, and Ms. Holmes, both of whom testified in Ms. Holmes’ case. Mr Balwani did not testify in his defense.

If convicted, Mr Balwani and Ms Holmes will be sentenced together in September.

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