Sunny Balwani, Elizabeth Holmes’ ex, blames her for Theranos as his trial begins

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I’m all caught up with The Dropout on Hulu, starring Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes and Naveen Andrews as Sunny Balwani, her boyfriend and eventual co-conspirator. The Dropout is so compelling and both Seyfried and Andrews are exceptional. Stephen Fry gives a heartbreaking performance as chief scientist Ian Gibbons, and there are countless supporting actors – Laurie Metcalf, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Sam Waterston, Kurtwood Smith to name a few – who are impressive too. I hope it wins all the Emmys and Globes. The finale premieres this Thursday on Hulu. Update: there are three more episodes left. Thank you Tanguerita!

Holmes established her biotech scam in 2003 based on a cursory knowledge of science, wishful thinking and a desire to be a billionaire. Balwani joined Theranos as COO in 2009. Balwani is portrayed as tyrannical, conniving, controlling and abusive in the Hulu series. Details about him in The Dropout podcast and The Inventor documentary support this. In early January of this year Holmes was convicted of four federal charges and is facing around 20 years in federal prison. Holmes tried to claim in her trial that she was a victim of Balwani and that he was responsible for Theranos’s financial crimes, a defense which was ultimately unsuccessful.

Balwani’s trial has now begun, and he’s predictably trying to pin everything on Holmes. Of course he’s doing that. Balwani is facing “10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud,” according to Insider. Holmes faced the same charges. Here’s more, from Insider:

Opening statements took place Tuesday in the fraud trial of Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who is Holmes’ ex-boyfriend and Theranos’ former president and COO.

Balwani’s team pointed the finger at Holmes in their opening statement, just as Holmes deflected blame to Balwani and other Theranos employees in her trial.

“Elizabeth Holmes, not Sunny, founded Theranos and built Theranos,” said Balwani’s attorney, Steve Cazares, according to The Mercury News.

“Sunny Balwani did not start Theranos,” he added, according to The New York Times. “He did not control Theranos.”

For their part, the prosecution also touched on Holmes’ conviction to lay the groundwork for their case.

“They were partners in everything, including their crimes,” said Assistant US Attorney Robert Leach, according to the Mercury News. “The defendant and Holmes knew the rosy falsehoods that they were telling investors were contrary to the reality within Theranos.”

[From Business Insider]

Both of these people should be in federal prison for the rest of their natural lives! They scammed almost a billion dollars and lied and cheated for years, never caring about the employees, patients, investors, board members and countless other victims they left in their wake. This is not a single crime committed in desperation or under the influence, they knew exactly what they were doing and they did it for over a decade. You could argue that Holmes wanted to change healthcare with technology and that Balwani wanted to support that. If that was the case they would have focused on the science and engineering, not the cash, image and publicity.

White collar criminals should be prosecuted with the same energy reserved for drug crimes. The fact that this woman has been out on bail for years is a testament to how rigged the system is. I look forward to Holmes’ sentencing this September and to the outcome of Balwani’s trial. Maybe we’ll get to revisit their text messages in which Holmes sends Balwani her personal affirmations and Balwani calls her nicknames like “tigress” and “warrior.”

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12 Responses to “Sunny Balwani, Elizabeth Holmes’ ex, blames her for Theranos as his trial begins”

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  1. Bettyrose says:

    The show presumably has turned public opinion against them, creating some incentive for fair sentencing. We’re in a world now where judges lose jobs amid public outrage at unequal sentences. I really honestly had paid no attention to any of this and now I’m addicted to the show.

  2. Lexilla says:

    I haven’t seen the show, but I highly recommend Bad Blood, the nonfiction book written by the WSJ reporter who covered Theranos. To me that’s probably the closest to the real story we’ll get.

  3. Tanguerita says:

    The finale? there are still three episodes left. the last one is going to air on the seventh of April.

  4. MissMarirose says:

    “White collar criminals should be prosecuted with the same energy reserved for drug crimes.”

    Say it louder for the folks in the back, please! White collar criminals victimize more people than simple drug possession criminals.

    • Mindy_DeLaCalle says:


    • bettyrose says:

      The only thing I disagree with is that I fully support the decriminalization of all drugs. I personally believe that prison sentences should only be for people who are a threat to society, not to themselves. White collar criminals destroy lives, and these two took that to a new level. I wouldn’t even dress up their crime as white collar. Misrepresenting medical devices is physical assault, although I understand that they’re being charged with the crime that can be proven, wire fraud, similar to how Capone went down on tax evasion.

  5. KaiC says:

    Um, Naveen Andrews is wayyyy too good-looking for this role.

    • Eose says:

      I was just about to say that Sunny better be glad that the actor they cast is way finer than he is.

      My skin crawls any time I have to look at either of them.

  6. KBeth says:

    They are both repugnant and equally complicit IMO.