A New York court found former hedge fund manager and pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli guilty on three counts of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud on Friday morning.
Despite the blow dealt by the jury, Shkreli announced after leaving court he was “delighted” by the verdict.
“This was a witch hunt of epic proportions. 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, and I’m delighted to report that,” Shekreli said outside of court.
Shkreli was found guilty of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy; the jury acquitted him of five counts of conspiracy, including the serious charge of attempting to steal from Retrophin, the firm he originally founded in 2011.
Prosecutors contended Shkreli deceived investors involved with MSMB Capital Management, another Shkreli firm, and stole from Retrophin to repay MSMB investors.
Shkreli gained notoriety in 2015 when it was revealed Turing Pharmaceuticals, a firm he founded, had acquired the rights to Daraprim, an anti-parasitic drug, and nakedly raised the price by 5,566 percent. Prior to Shkreli obtaining the drug’s license, the per-pill cost stood at $7,50. Shkreli raised it to $750.
Arrested in December 2015 on conspiracy charges, Shkreli became the face of business avarice and earned the nickname “Pharma Bro” from media.
Subpoenaed to appear in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform over his price-gouging practices, Shkreli refused to answer queries, but later assailed Congress on Twitter.
Known for his quirky behavior, peculiar facial expressions in public, and taunting prosecutors, Shekreli appeared on social media in a livestream in which he expressed optimism over avoiding prison altogether.
“I’m one of the richest New Yorkers there is, and after today’s outcome it’s going to stay that way,” Shkreli said following his conviction.
Lawyer Benjamin Brafman said following the verdict that his client may not be sentenced to a jail term now thanks to the jury finding Shkreli not guilty of defrauding Retrophin.
Despite a possible light or reduced sentence, ex-federal prosecutor Christopher LaVigne told Reuters the charges Shrekli was found guilty of without actual financial losses incurred by investors means government attorneys may pursue more similar cases in the future.
[Bloomberg] [Reuters] [Best of Martin Shkreli/YouTube] [Photo courtesy Reuters via Christian Science Monitor]