Martin Shkreli, the 34-year-old former drug firm executive, known as ‘Pharma bro’ has been found guilty of defrauding investors from two hedge funds he previously ran.
He was accused of cheating investors out of more than $11m between 2009 and 2014.
His lawyers asked the judge for a lighter sentence of 12 to 18 months with 2000 hours of community service and mandatory therapy, but prosecutors wanted Shkreli put away for at least 15 years.
Prosecutors argued that Shkreli lacked “genuine remorse” for his crimes and called him “a man who believes the ends always justifies the means.” U.S. prosecutor Jacquelyn Kasulis claimed that Shkreli “victimizes people without thinking about it. […] He needs to be stopped. Society needs to be protected.”
Shkreli’s defense argued that his crimes were victimless as none of his hedge fund investors actually lost money, and some made “significant” gains.
Shkreli’s lawyer Ben Brafman pleaded with the judge that “[Martin] should not be sentenced solely for being Martin Shkreli, with all the baggage he brings to the table.”
Shkreli has also been ordered by U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto to forfeit nearly $7.4 million to the federal government. Matsumoto also ordered Shkreli to give up a $5 million stock account that was used as collateral for his now-revoked release bond. She also demanded that he gives up his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that he famously bought for $2 million, a Picasso painting, a Lil Wayne album, and his stake in company Vyera Pharmaceuticals.
A tearful Shkreli told the court:
“The one person to blame for me being here today is me. Not the government. There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli. I took down Martin Shkreli. This is my fault. I am no victim here.”
Martin Shkreli leapt to infamy two-and-a-half years ago when he hiked up the price of anti-parasite medication Daraprim by over 5000% at Turing Pharmaceuticals (now Vyera Pharmaceuticals), a medical company Shkreli himself founded.
Matsumoto claimed Shkreli’s sentencing was unconnected to the Daraprim controversy, which saw Shkreli get widespread backlash, nor was it connected to his online trolling of Hillary Clinton.
Shkreli was found guilty in August last year of 2 counts of security fraud and 1 count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, but was allowed to remain free pending sentencing. However, a month later, in a joke posted on Facebook, Shkreli offered $5000 if someone brought him a hair from failed U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Though the post was a clear joke, the Secret Service were alerted, Matsumoto declared Shkreli a danger, and his bail was revoked causing him to be placed in federal jail.
Before his sentencing, it has been revealed that Shkreli wrote a letter to Judge Matsumoto, calling himself a “fool” and “far from blameless.”
“I accept the fact that I made serious mistakes, but I still believe that I am a good person with much potential. The trial and the six months in a maximum security prison has been a frightening wake-up call. I understand how I need to change.”
Shkreli reportedly plans to appeal his conviction.
feature image via AOL
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