Pharma Bro gets jail for stock fraud

11 March, 2018, 01:28 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Former Pharmaceutical Executive Martin Shkreli Set to Learn Fate Friday

Martin Shkreli, the notorious "Pharma Bro" who raised the price of a potentially life-saving drug used by AIDS patients 5,000%, was sentenced Friday in a NY federal court to seven years for defrauding investors in two failed hedge funds.

Shkreli was found guilty last August of defrauding his investors in two failed hedge funds, and then looting money from his drug company to cover their loses.

Attorney Benjamin Brafman wants U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto to sentence the former pharmaceutical company CEO known for trolling critics on the internet to 18 months in prison.

"We do believe the public needs to be protected from Mr. Shkreli", Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis argued.

"Mr. Shkreli is about to turn 35 years old", she said "He is a man who needs to take responsibility for his actions".

Shkreli said he made "gross, stupid and negligent mistakes", and that while he disagrees with the picture the prosecution painted of him, "I am not going to be baited into going into the mud".

Shkreli was granted bail after his conviction but he landed back in jail in September when he offered a $5,000 bounty for a strand of hair from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The news sparked a national debate about United States drug prices and Shkreli managed the unlikely feat of uniting Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in condemning his actions.

The former pharma boss wept in the NY courtroom as he begged the judge not to sentence him to years in prison.

But even Brafman acknowledged "there are times when I want to punch him in the face" because his client's behaviour complicated the defence, according to reporters who were in the courtroom.

The judge insisted the punishment was not about Shkreli's online antics or how he bought lifesaving drug Daraprim, used to treat HIV, and raised its price by 5,000 per cent. But we can't help notice that seven years is a pretty heavy sentence for a guy that basically executed a relatively small fraud without a ton of forethought other than the impetus of ego and greed.

The assets that Shkreli would be required to hand over include his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album, called "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin".

By all accounts, Shkreli deserves to do time. Shkreli will get credit for six months he has already spent in jail awaiting his sentencing.

"Oh, I've certainly thought about [PRISON], anyone in my position would", he told the Financial Times in an interview in 2016, predicting that his fellow inmates "at the white-collar prison [WOULD BE] enormous, huge Shkreli supporters". His net worth is still about $20 million, after subtracting the forfeiture and the fine, and also the taxes and legal fees he owes.



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