Martin Shkreli found guilty of fraud by jury in New York
Martin Shkreli, the hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical entrepreneur once dubbed the most hated man in America, has been found guiltyon three of eight federal charges that he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds.
The jury of seven women and five men reached their verdict on the fifth day of deliberations after a month-long federal fraud trial. Shkreli, nicknamed Pharma Bro for his willfully provocative behaviour, faced up to 20 years behind bars on the charges of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Shkreli, 34, was convicted of two counts of securities fraud relating to charges that he lied to investors while sweet-talking them into pumping more capital into his failing hedge funds, and one count of conspiracy. But he was cleared of defrauding Retrophin, his former biotech company, which he was accused of illegally raiding for assets to reimburse skeptical investors who wanted their money back.
Speaking outside federal court in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon, Shkreli said: When you have the entire federal government on you its a scary thing, its daunting to have that weight on your shoulders, and standing up to them and telling them I dont think you have your facts right. We fought back and we feel like we won.
US district judge Kiyo Matsumoto allowed Shkreli to remain free on $5m bail and a date for sentencing has not been set.
I wish you well, Mr Shkreli, see you soon, she said. The judge had ordered Shkreli to stop talking to the press during the trial. She also told opposing lawyers they were arguing like children.
His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said that he would argue strongly on appeal that his client did not deserve a custodial sentence.
I think we are smiling, even though it was not the clean sweep we would have preferred, Brafman said of the non-guilty verdicts on a majority of the charges. I think some of these counts are hanging by a thread and my hope is that at the end of the appellate process there is no prison time for Martin.
Prosecutors had told the jury that Shkreli told lies upon lies, from where he went to university to the health of his business. He had boasted he had $40m in hedge funds that only had about $300 in the bank, assistant US attorney Alixandra Smith said in closing arguments.
Prior to the trial, Shkreli boasted he would be acquitted entirely because he was so innocent and jurors would apologize to him. Shkreli also faces a heap of civil lawsuits.
Shkreli achieved notoriety in 2015 after the 34-year-old increased the price of a life-saving drug, Daraprim, used by people with Aids and others suffering from toxoplasmosis, by 5,000% overnight, shortly after his pharmaceutical startup bought the commercial rights to it.
The move led to BBC calling him Americas most hated man. Even Donald Trump weighed in, calling Shkreli a spoiled brat and his business practices disgusting.
Seeming to revel in his notoriety, Shkreli doubled down, telling the Guardian: There are very few people who care about toxoplasmosis more than me. He reinforced his notoriety with a troll-like internet presence, especially towards female journalists and celebrities.