Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, the 57-year-old former COO of Theranos who was convicted last year — like his former business partner Elizabeth Holmes — of defrauding investors in their blood-testing startup, was set to enter prison Thursday.
Balwani had not yet reported to Terminal Island Prison, the federal facility in San Pedro, California where he's been assigned, as of 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time, according to federal prison records — however this could also reflect a lag in the records being updated. He has, however, been assigned the registration number 24966-111. [Update: He arrived, per his attorney.]
Terminal Island, as the Associated Press notes, once housed Al Capone back in the 1930s, and Charles Manson in the 1950s.
Balwani's co-conspirator and onetime girlfriend, Elizabeth Holmes, has also made a last-ditch appeal to the Ninth Circuit, ahead of her prison reporting date of April 27 — which is a week from today. The last we knew, a federal judge had recommended that she be placed at a minimum-security facility in Bryan, Texas, and any intervention by the appeals court seems highly unlikely.
That same judge, Edward Davila, sentenced Holmes to 11 years and four months in prison, and he denied her appeal earlier this month. He has yet to rule on how much restitution money she may owe to investors.
Holmes's appeal, all 132 pages worth, was filed Monday, and it alleges that prosecutors "parroted the public narrative" against her, and "the reality differed significantly from that narrative."
"Highly credentialed Theranos scientists told Holmes in real time the technology worked," the filing reads. "Outsiders who reviewed the technology said it worked. Theranos’ groundbreaking developments received many patents. And in 2015 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved an assay on Theranos’ proprietary technology."
The lawyers further contend that Judge Davila "abus[ed]" his discretion in allowing the prosecution various amounts of leeway.
And, if the appellate court denies this appeal, the attorneys also are seeking a reduction of Holmes's sentence, which they call "severe."
With convictions on four counts of fraud — Holmes, unlike Balwani, was acquitted on several counts relating to defrauding consumers — Holmes could have faced up to 20 years per count.