CNBC News reports that on Friday a federal jury found “Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli guilty of three counts of securities fraud. The jury acquitted him of other crimes related to hedge funds he ran and a drug company he founded. The verdict occurred at 2:37pm after five days of jury deliberations, which took place after a trial that lasted for over a month.
Prosecutors claimed that Shkreli had defrauded several investors in his two hedge funds out of millions of dollars and then repaid them with stock and cash that he illegally took from a drug company that he founded.
Prosecutors also claimed that a mountain of testimony and evidence at trial showed that Shkreli tricked multiple investors into pulling millions of dollars into hedge funds that he operated by falsely claiming to have an excellent record of running them. He also falsely claimed that his investment strategy had a low level of risk.
Once he got their money, prosecutors said that Shkreli quickly lost it, and used some of it to upstart his infant company Retrophin Inc. When investors asked to have their money redeemed in cash, Shkreli would stall, and sometimes would suggest alternative ways to pay them back.
The sentencing date has not yet been set. It will not occur until prosecutors and defense lawyers decide how much money Shkreli will need to forfeit. The maximum sentence that Shkreli faces is 20 years, but it is not likely that he will receive this penalty. Most likely, he will receive a less-severe punishment because he lacks a criminal record.
Martin Shkreli became notorious in 2014 after raising the price of a life-savings AIDS drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill. This controversy also made his more recent trial more difficult. Several potential jurors were actually kept off the panel after expressing ill will toward the defendant. According to Chicago Tribune, one potential juror called him a “snake” and another called him “the face of corporate greed.”
The Chicago Tribune reports on other factors that made Shkreli look suspicious in the eyes of jurors.
In particular, a series of odd quirks about the defendant came to light. For instance, it became known that Shkreli slept on the floor of his office in a sleeping bag for two years. Also, a drug company board member and American Express executive claimed that Shkreli would only meet with him if the latter could touch the former’s “soft skin.” It also came to light that Shkreli wrote a letter to the wife of an employee in which he threatened to make the entire family homeless if her husband wouldn’t settle a debt.
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