Will Martin Shkreli Go To Jail? The Widely-Scorned "Pharma Bro" Was Convicted
On Friday, a federal jury found Martin Shkreli guilty of multiple criminal charges. Shkreli, the "Pharma bro" who became notorious back in 2015 after astronomically raising prices on an AIDS drug, was charged Friday in an unrelated case for allegedly duping investors. At the conclusion of his trial, which lasted over a month, Shkreli was found guilty on three of the eight charges he was facing, including two counts of securities fraud. When he is sentenced, Shkreli could face up to 20 years in jail.
Shkreli was on trial after being accused of defrauding investors into pouring millions of dollars into two hedge funds he operated: MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. According to CNBC, Shkreli subsequently told his investors that he was seeing positive returns, but in reality, he quickly lost much of their money and used the rest to fund Retrophin, his new pharmaceutical company. These fraudulent actions preceded his notoriety as Turing Pharmaceuticals' CEO, a position he used to raise Daraprim prices by 5,000 percent.
During the trial, prosecutor Jacquelyn Kasulis said that the prosecution had presented an "avalanche" of evidence against Shkreli. The New York Times reported that this evidence included false financial statements about his returns and a threatening letter Shkreli had sent to a former employee's wife.
“It’s time for Martin Shkreli to be held accountable, for his choices to lie and to deceive and to steal and to take peoples’ money without a second thought, without even a pause,” Kasulis said in her rebuttal argument.
Prosecutors at Shkreli's trial said he committed these hedge fund frauds between October 2009 and March 2014, well before the Daraprim controversy. However, although Shkreli was found guilty on two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, he was found not guilty on five of the most serious counts against him — the charges pertaining to Retrophin. In fact, despite the guilty verdict, Shkreli said after the trial, “We’re delighted in many ways," referring to the fact that he had been exonerated on those five other counts.
Shkreli's trial was a long one, made more complicated by the difficulties the judge faced while trying to assemble a jury that didn't already hate him. As he awaits his sentencing, Shkreli now faces up to 20 years in prison, but The Washington Post cited legal experts as saying that he will probably receive a much shorter sentence.