SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Sentencing day is looming for a former Silicon Valley biotech star, Elizabeth Holmes, and her Theranos business partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila will hand down Holmes’ sentence at her October 17 sentencing hearing, followed by Balwani’s November 15 sentencing hearing.

Judge Davila will take victim impact statements into consideration before deciding how long Holmes and Balwani deserve to be locked up. This week prosecutors are asking more victims to come forward.

Holmes and Balwani were convicted of defrauding sophisticated investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars through their unicorn startup company, Theranos. Prosecutors said Holmes and Balwani were driven by greed when they secretly conspired together.

Holmes famously proclaimed that her “revolutionary” technology could run any blood test from just a few drops of blood. The young Stanford University dropout used her charismatic star power to silence skeptics who questioned whether the company’s technology was capable of accuracy, several witnesses testified.

Whistleblowers and investigators blew the cover off Theranos’ flawed blood lab in Palo Alto and Holmes was indicted in 2020. Holmes and Balwani had a secret romantic relationship while they were CEO and COO of Theranos, but the former lovers turned on each other after their company collapsed.

Holmes and Balwani
Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani turned on each other after Theranos collapsed. (Getty Images)

The Theranos scandal was separated into two lengthy trials in San Jose. While testifying in her own defense, Holmes blamed Balwani, accusing him of abusing and controlling her life. A jury convicted Holmes in January on three counts of defrauding investors and one count of conspiracy.

A second jury convicted Balwani on all 12 counts, including defrauding patients, in July. Prosecutors said patients’ lives were endangered when they received erroneous blood test results from Theranos machines.

Prosecutor Jeffrey Schenk said, “Theranos was running out of money. Elizabeth Holmes had a choice to make. She could watch Theranos slowly fail, or she could make a different decision. Holmes made a decision to defraud her investors and patients. That choice was not only callous, it was criminal.”

This week, United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California issued a call for more information from victims of Theranos. U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds distributed questionnaires online requesting victim impact statements.

“Investigating agencies are seeking information from those who may be victims of the defendants’ crimes. The information is being sought in connection with the upcoming sentencings of Holmes and Balwani.  Information obtained from victims may be presented to the court for consideration in connection with the upcoming sentencing hearings of the two Theranos, Inc. officers,” prosecutors wrote.

Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes leaves the federal courthouse in San Jose with her partner, Billy Evans. (Getty Images)

Even though Holmes was convicted eight months ago, she still hasn’t spent a day behind bars. The former billionaire has been out on bond and quietly living in a Woodside mansion with her partner, Billy Evans, and their 1-year-old baby. According to court records, the couple lives on a $135-million estate with four swimming pools, tennis courts, and sprawling gardens.

Her freedom will not last much longer, however.

Holmes and Balwani are both facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, as well as fines of $1 million and $3 million respectively. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Judge Davila has wide discretion for deciding how many years each defendant will receive.

For Theranos Victims

If you believe you are a patient victim, you can fill out this questionnaire. If you believe you are an investor victim, you can fill out this questionnaire. Follow the instructions on the form and submit it no later than September 6. Email your submission to  oci.theranos@fda.hhs.gov with US v Holmes & Balwani in the subject line. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote, “All responses are voluntary, but complete submissions will be useful in identifying respondents as potential victims and supplying the court with the information necessary for sentencing. It is requested that respondents submit their statements via email as indicated on those questionnaires. Based on the information submitted, respondents may be contacted by law enforcement agencies and asked to provide additional information.”