Martin Shkreli, the eccentric former pharmaceutical CEO notorious for a price-gouging scandal and for his snide "Pharma Bro" persona on social media, was convicted Friday on federal charges he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds. The trial "has exposed Martin Shkreli for who he really is - a con man who stole millions", added another prosecutor, Jacquelyn Kasulis.
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The charges stemmed from his career before Turing, as chief executive of Retrophin and manager of hedge funds MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. According to the complaint, he also issued stock and made cash payments from Retrophin (disguised as payments for consulting services) to disgruntled investors in the hedge funds who were threatening to sue.
Shkreli, 34, told "lies upon lies", including claiming he had $40 million in one of his funds at a time when it only had about $300 in the bank, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alixandra Smith said in closing arguments.
"I don't think there's anything that pales in comparison to feeling the pressure of the entire government sort of try to squeeze you and standing up to them and telling them, 'We don't think you have your facts right, '" he said.
His online comments garnered him a gag order from Judge Matsumoto during the first week of the trial.
Shkreli's legal team, headed by Benjamin Brafman, argued during the trial that although Shkreli didn't "look great" on paper, he was a "brilliant mind" who lacked intent to defraud investors. "He's not charged with aggravation", referring to Shkreli's 2011 imploded short trade that cost him $7 million and his infamous reputation as provocative online troll. "He's impossible!" Brafman said of his client.
"In terms of people skills?"
Shkreli showed little emotion as the verdict was read, but outside the courthouse portrayed it as a victory, though he could face up to 20 years in prison for securities fraud.
Shkreli emphasized the jury's finding that he did not conspire to steal from Retrophin. A sentencing date has not yet been set.