Former Theranos COO Denied Request to Delay Prison Term

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former president and chief operating officer of Theranos, has had his request to delay serving his prison term denied by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Balwani had been convicted of 12 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy relating to false statements made to investors and patients about the company’s blood-testing technology.[0] Following his conviction, Balwani had been sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison by US District Judge Edward Davila.[1] Balwani’s lawyers had requested that he be allowed to delay serving his prison term until his appeal had been decided. However, the Court of Appeals rejected the request, stating that Balwani had not raised any “substantial question” of law or fact that was “fairly debatable”.[0] In addition, the court stated that any errors in the trial were not likely to result in reversal or a shortened prison sentence.[0]

Balwani’s co-defendant, Elizabeth Holmes, who was the founder and CEO of Theranos, is also awaiting sentencing.[0] Holmes had been charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and conspiracy relating to the same blood-testing technology. She had also requested a delay in her sentencing until her appeal had been decided. Judge Davila had promised to rule on her motion in April.[0] If the judge denies her request, Holmes can also seek an emergency order from the Ninth Circuit to delay her surrender date while the higher court decides if bail is appropriate.[0]

The case of Theranos was highly publicised due to the company’s claims that its technology could perform a range of blood tests from a single finger-prick. However, the technology was later revealed to be flawed, and the company was dissolved. Holmes and Balwani had raised millions of dollars from investors for the company, and had also falsely claimed that the technology was being used by the US military in combat zones. The case has been seen as a cautionary tale about the dangers of hype and over-promising in the tech industry.

0. “Appeals court rejects bid by convicted Theranos exec Balwani to delay prison” The Almanac Online, 7 Apr. 2023,

1. “Appeals Court rejects ex-Theranos exec Sunny Balwani’s plea to delay imprisonment” CBS San Francisco, 7 Apr. 2023,