A Brooklyn federal judge dismissed the tearful plea for mercy from “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli and sentenced him Friday to seven years in prison for defrauding investors.
The 34-year-old former biotech CEO and hedge fund manager was convicted last August on charges of defrauding investors by repeatedly lying about the performance of funds he controlled, and raiding his company’s own assets to provide “returns” to investors.
An unrepentant Shkreli, went online to answer people’s questions about the trial once he stepped out of court after his conviction.
Martin ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli guilty on three charges in federal fraud case – robbed his hedge fund investors, then looted his pharmaceutical company to repay fleeced investors
Karma is a b…ch when every one hates Martin Shkreli
On Friday Shkreli, the usually snarky social media maven who infamously tried to squeeze AIDS patients by jacking up the price of a life-saving drug, wept as he apologized to the investors.
Shkreli through his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals of New York, infamously bought the rights to the drug, Daraprim, from Impax Laboratories for $55 million and raised the price by 5,000 percent from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Shkreli pulled this public coup in September 2017, with scant regard or care for the global panic he induced.
Shkreli achieved notoriety when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought the drug ‘Daraprim, which is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a disease that can be fatal to H.I.V. patients and increased the price by 5000 percent
Appealing to the court for mitigation on Friday, Shkreli said: “This is my fault,” he said. “I am not the victim here… Please give me a chance to show what I’m capable of.”
Hardly moved by the ‘new and improved’ Shkreli, Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, who had the court officer pass Shkreli a box of tissues at one point, handed down the seven-year stretch, although it was far less than the 15 years prosecutors had been seeking.
Minutes later, ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli was marched out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
He will get credit for six months he has already spent in jail and was also sentenced to three years of probation after his release and ordered to pay a $75,000 fine.
It was an ignominious turn for the fallen entrepreneur, whose attorney had prayed the court to limit his client’s prison sentence to 12 to 18 months.
Shkreli was marched out of the courtroom in handcuffs after receiving a 7 year sentence. He will get credit for six months he has already spent in jail and was also sentenced to three years of probation after his release and ordered to pay a $75,000 fine.
His defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, who has already announced his intention to appeal the conviction, said he was “disappointed.”
“When the guidelines are 25 years and the government is demanding 15 years one would think that a seven-year sentence is good,” he said.
“I thought the sentence should have been less than seven years, but Martin’s fine and obviously it could have been a lot worse,” Brafman said.
Going for a reduced sentence, Brafman argued that none of Shkreli’s investors ultimately lost any money and that he never personally benefited from his actions.
Judge Matsumoto however, agreed with prosecutors contention that Shkreli caused anywhere from $9 million to $20 million in losses .
On Monday, she ordered the forfeiture of some $7.36 million in Shkreli’s assets, including the one-of-kind Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” that he bought at an auction for $2 million.
Prior to his downfall, the smirking, snarky Shkreli didn’t care whom he hurt or gouged
There was no immediate comment from prosecutors Friday, but Sarah Walters, a former federal prosecutor in Boston who ran the economic crimes unit, said Shkreli’s punishment fit the crime.
“The seven year sentence for Shkreli is obviously lower than prosecutors were hoping for, but it is still a very significant sentence,” Walters said in an email. “Judge Matsumoto considered Shkreli’s conduct to be extremely serious and was not particularly moved by Shkreli’s arguments of ‘no harm no foul’ since many of his investors did not lose money in the end.”
When Shkreli was convicted last summer, he boasted that he would probably spent less than a year at “Club Fed,” a cushy minimum-security facility where he could play tennis and Xbox. He got his nickname after posting a photo of himself on Twitter in sunglasses and mimicking a pose from a Flo Rida music video.
Martin Shkreli has been ordered to forfeit his prized new Wu-Tang Clan album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”
Shkreli soon after was back in jail after a judge revoked his bail for offering his Facebook followers $5,000 for a sample of Hillary Clinton’s hair when she was on book tour.
The self-styled Wall Street bad boy said it was a joke. But the judge said he was a threat and he found himself in the Brooklyn Metropolitan Correction Center to live among mobsters, drug smugglers and terror suspects while awaiting sentencing.
In court on Friday, a contrite Shkreli told his family not to worry about him and said he was embarrassed and ashamed.
“I was never motivated by money,” he said, his voice cracking. “I was trying to grow my stature and reputation.”
Shkreli insisted he was “not the same person” he was when he was running the MSMB Capital Management hedge fund.
“I’m here because of the gross, stupid, negligent mistakes I made at MSMB,” he said. “This would be a good time to apologize to all the investors of MSMB… I’m terribly sorry I lost your trust. You deserve better.”