Brooklyn jury finds price-gouger Martin Shkreli guilty of defrauding investors

Martin Shkreli and attorney Benjamin Brafman arrive at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Martin Shkreli and attorney Benjamin Brafman arrive at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

While Shkreli was acquitted of on Retrophin-related count, he was convicted of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in connection with Retrophin.

A Brooklyn jury yesterday found Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager notorious for massively jacking up the price of a critical drug (See: Turing vows to cut Daraprim drug price after furore over 5,000% hike), guilty of defrauding his investors.

As The New York Times notes, the judge on the case eventually had to order Shkreli to stop discussing the case in the court house, after an incident where he talked about it with reporters.

He was accused on an eight-count indictment for allegedly stealing $11 million in stock from his first pharmaceutical company Retrophin to pay off investors who lost money in two of his hedge funds.

But a jury cleared him of five other counts, leading Shkreli to say he was pleased with the result.

If convicted of the most serious charges, he could face up to 20 years in prison but likely would receive far less time under sentencing guidelines.

The verdict came on the fifth day of deliberations, which followed a monthlong trial.

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Shkreli gained notoriety and earned public ire a year ago, after Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company he founded, spent $55 million for the United States rights to sell a life-saving medicine called Daraprim and promptly hiked the price about 5,000 per cent from $13.50 to $750 per pill (See: Turing does volte face on cutting price of drug Daraprim).

"This was a witch hunt of epic proportions and maybe they found one or two broomsticks but at the end of the day we've been acquitted of the most important charges in this case".

A securities fraud conviction has done little to silence "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli on social media, who imagined out loud a short stretch in a posh "Club Fed", to the repeat dismay of a legal team working to limit or avoid jail time for their chatty client.

Outside court after the verdict, Shkreli portrayed the decision as a victory.

"Count seven was the government's attempt to theorize that I robbed Peter to pay Paul, and the jury has spoken conclusively that Retrophin was not defrauded in this case", Shkreli told reporters.

An hour after Shkreli's hearing, he livestreamed more of his reaction from his YouTube account, where he drank a beer and claimed that his sentence would be "close to nil".

"You may not like Martin Shkreli", Shkreli's lawyer, Ben Brafman, said in his opening statement. That episode is unrelated to the fraud case.

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