Martin Shkreli sentenced to 7 years in prison for securities fraud

Cheryl Sanders
March 10, 2018

Pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli (SHKREL'-ee) was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison by U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto (KEE'-yoh maht-soo-MOH'-toh) after he was convicted last year of lying to investors in two failed hedge funds.

Arrested three years ago, in 2015, it wasn't until August last year (2017) that Shkreli was found guilty of three counts of securities fraud by a somewhat "difficult to come by" jury (as published by Harper's).

Shkreli is best known for a 2015 price-gouging scandal involving a decades-old drug that his company acquired.

Although that incident had nothing to do with his trial before a federal court in NY, so great was the 34 year-old's notoriety that it was initially hard to find an impartial jury for the trial.

It's less than half of the 15 years prosecutors were seeking, but it far exceeds the minimum 18-month sentence Shkreli's attorneys were hoping to secure for their client, whose 35th birthday is later this month.

Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman described Shkreli as a misunderstood eccentric who used unconventional means to make his defrauded investors even wealthier.

One supporter said Shkreli demonstrated kindness by adopting a cat called Trashy, while another insisted his social media contributions were valuable and akin to "performance art".

Shkreli's case may not have been helped either by his outlandish request after being convicted for a hair from Hilary Clinton (including follicle) for which he offered $5,000 dollars. Shkreli was forced to resign in December 2015 after he was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and charged with securities fraud.

He added that he's the only person to blame, saying "I took down Martin Shkreli with my shameful and wrong actions".

Judge Matsumoto rejected the argument and on Monday ordered Shkreli to forfeit almost $7.4 million in assets.

"There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli", he said.

"I wanted to grow my stature and my reputation", Shkreli said.

The self-promoting "Pharma Bro" vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug has been sentenced to prison for securities fraud.

Prosecutors said that between 2009 and 2014, Shkreli lied to investors at MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare about how well the funds were doing, and that while he was CEO of Retrophin, he used the pharmaceutical company as a piggy bank to pay off MSMB investors and to cover personal loans and other debts.

"There are times when I want to hug him and hold him and comfort him and there are times I want to punch him in the face", lawyer Ben Brafman said, per Bloomberg News.

The price hike sparked a public backlash that landed him on Capitol Hill, testifying about drug prices.

She noted one written by a doctor who said he had "lost a patient to septic shock" due to the unavailablity of Daraprim.

The judge has also ordered Shkreli to surrender US$7.4 million in profits he made from his crimes.

In court filings, prosecutors argued that Shkreli's remorse about misleading his investors was not to be believed.

Other reports by iNewsToday