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Martin Shkreli found guilty of fraud

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A federal jury Friday found Martin Shkreli guilty of three counts of securities fraud — but acquitted him of five other criminal counts related to hedge funds investors and a drug company he founded – .

The split verdict in Shkreli’s trial came at about 2:37 p.m. on the fifth day of jury deliberations, after a more-than-month-trial in Brooklyn, New York, federal court.

Shkreli shook his head in apparent disbelief as the first of three guilty verdicts was read. His father, who attended every day of trial, put his head in hands. The jury’s decision, following five days of deliberations, did not give either side the clear victory they wanted, but was certainly humbling for Shkreli who had boasted that prosecutors would have to apologize to him when the case was over.

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A former hedge-fund entrepreneur and drug-company C.E.O., Shkreli came to prominence while he was running a company called Turing Pharmaceuticals. During his tenure, Turing bought a drug called Daraprim, which is used to treat rare but serious parasitic infections in aids patients, and Shkreli raised the price per pill from thirteen dollars and fifty cents to seven hundred and fifty dollars, sparking public condemnation and outrage.

He capitalized on the attention to cement his reputation as an aggressive and obnoxious user of social media, ultimately getting himself banned from Twitter for harassing a female journalist. Reviled in the press, which took to calling him Pharma Bro, Shkreli came to symbolize extreme corporate greed.

When Shkreli was arrested, in late 2015, it was—somewhat incredibly—for reasons unrelated to the Daraprim price hike. The government charged him with defrauding investors in MSMB Capital Management, his former hedge fund, and with stealing stock from shareholders of Retrophin, a publicly traded drug company that he ran; the government alleged that he used those shares to repay his hedge-fund investors. In other words, Shkreli’s case does not represent a takedown of systemic fraud and corruption in the financial system; his were the schemes of an eccentric solo operator who is potentially a danger to others in the market, but who has little significance to the broader financial system.

Speaking outside federal court in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon, Shkreli said: “When you have the entire federal government on you … it’s a scary thing, it’s daunting to have that weight on your shoulders, and standing up to them and telling them I don’t think you have your facts right. We fought back and we feel like we won.”

He claimed to have been cleared on “the most important charges”

Shkreli, faces up to 20 years in prison, though legal experts say he is likely to be sentenced to much less.

 

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