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Karma Just Slapped “Pharma Bro” Hard

Martin Shkreli

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2016 file photo, Pharmaceutical chief Martin Shkreli smiles on Capitol Hill in Washington during the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on his former company's decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medicine. Shkreli announced on Twitter Sept. 26, 2016, that he would offer up a chance to punch him in the face as part of a fundraiser for the son of his former PR consultant, who recently died. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical CEO who found public notoriety as the “Pharma Bro” after a price gouging scandal, was convicted earlier today on three of eight counts he had faced, which had included securities fraud and conspiracy to commit both securities fraud and wire fraud. A jury found him guilty of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and two counts of securities fraud. He now faces 20 years in prison.

“We’re delighted in many ways,” Shkreli said, adding that he was glad to have evaded most of the more serious charges. “This was a witch hunt of epic proportions. They may have found some broomsticks.”

Shkreli, prosecutors said, told “lies upon lies,” including claiming he had $40 million in one of his funds at a time when, in fact, he had little more than $300 in the bank. He further duped multiple investors into putting millions of dollars into two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. He further claimed to have an excellent record running the two hedge funds, and falsely stated his investment strategy had a low level of risk.

Jacquelyn Kasulis, another prosecutor, said the trial “has exposed Martin Shkreli for who he really is — a con man who stole millions.”

“Rarely has a white-collar criminal defendant evoked hatred and scorn from public in the way Shkreli has,” says James Goodnow, an attorney with corporate defense firm Fennemore Craig. “Shkreli’s willingness to lie, step on people, flaunt his wealth and look down on others made him a villain that many wanted to see go down in flames.”

The trial was unrelated to the price gouging scandal surrounding the antiparasitic drug Daraprim. Shkreli gained public notoriety after acquiring the rights to the drug––which is used to treat AIDS patients––and jacking up its price. The price of a dose of the drug in the U.S. market increased from US$13.50 to US$750 per pill, overnight, a factor of 56. Shkreli became known as “Pharma Bro” for his unrepentant and combative nature on social media. He appeared to relish the backlash, lamenting that he didn’t raise the price of the drug more. Twitter eventually suspended his account after he repeatedly harassed journalists.

Such was the disdain for Shkreli that the judge struggled to find potential jurors who didn’t already dislike him. U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto slammed Shkreli during the second week of testimony for talking to reporters in the courthouse where jurors could potentially hear him.

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