Friday, 19 Oct 2018

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'Pharma Bro' gets 7 years in prison

No icon Pharmaceuticals

Health Desk: 10 March 2018: The smirk wiped off his face, a crying Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud on Friday in a hard fall for the pharmaceutical-industry bad boy vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug.

Shkreli, the boyish-looking, 34-year-old entrepreneur dubbed the "Pharma Bro" for his loutish behavior, was handed his punishment after a hearing in which he and his attorney struggled with limited success to make him a sympathetic figure. His own lawyer confessed to wanting to punch him in the face sometimes.

"I'm not the same person I was," Shkreli said. "I know right from wrong. I know what it means to tell the truth and what it means to lie."

He also said: "The only person to blame for me being here today is me. There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli. I took down Martin Shkreli."

In the end, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto gave him a sentence that fell well short of the 15 years prosecutors wanted but was a lot longer than the 18 months his lawyer asked for. He was also fined $75,000.

Shkreli was found guilty in August of lying to investors in two failed hedge funds and cheating them out of millions. The case was unrelated to the 2015 furor in which he was accused of price-gouging, but his arrest was seen as rough justice by the many enemies he made with his smug and abrasive behavior online and off.

The judge ruled earlier that Shkreli would have to forfeit more than $7.3 million in a brokerage account and personal assets, including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that he boasted of buying for $2 million.

Shkreli became the face of pharmaceutical industry evil in 2015 when he increased by 5,000 percent the price of Daraprim, a previously cheap drug used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be fatal to people with the AIDS virus or other immune system disorders.

Shkreli seemed to treat the case as a big joke. After his arrest in December 2015, he taunted prosecutors, got kicked off of Twitter for harassing a female journalist, heckled Hillary Clinton from the sidewalk outside her daughter's home, gave speeches with the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and spent countless hours livestreaming himself from his apartment.