Thursday, 19 October, 2017

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Convicted Of Securities Fraud

Image Drew Angerer  Getty Images Image Drew Angerer Getty Images
Juana Turner | 05 August, 2017, 00:27

A US jury convicted Martin Shkreli, the brash former drug company and hedge fund executive who drew fierce criticism for jacking up drug prices, of securities fraud on Friday in an unrelated case.

Shkreli was convicted on Friday (Saturday NZ time) of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy.

Former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli was convicted Friday on three counts of deceiving investors in hedge funds.

Shkreli's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, argued that because none of Shkreli's hedge fund investors lost money, no crime was committed.

Jurors heard testimony from several MSMB investors who said Shkreli falsely claimed to have an outside auditor and tens of millions of dollars in assets, sent them fabricated account statements after losing their money and became evasive when they asked for their investments back.

Shkreli was found not guilty of the counts that were tied to Retrophin, which were considered to be some of the most serious charges against him.

Prosecutors hammered Shkreli as a liar who misled investors about the hedge funds' liquidity and value, misrepresented the company's performance and lied about having gone to college. Prosecutors also accused Shkreli invested some of investors' money in Retrophin without telling them.

"A case like this, I think it emboldens them a little bit", he said.

The federal trial "exposed Martin Shkreli for who he is really is - a con man who stole millions", said another prosecutor, Jacquelyn Kasulis.

"He's not charged with making an illegal OREX trade", Brafman said.

Shkreli's lawyer agreed his client could be annoying, saying, "In terms of people skills, he's impossible", and referring to him as a "nerd" and a "mad scientist".

That mission was the start-up pharmaceutical company Retrophin, reportedly founded to find a cure for rare disease called myotubular myopathy.

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. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

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