Martin Shkreli, the almost universally reviled schmuck notorious for raising the price of a lifesaving drug for infants and people with AIDS by 5000%, was convicted in federal court today on three of eight charges against him in a securities and wire fraud case. (His price gouging on pharmaceuticals made him a pariah, but was perfectly legal.) After a trial in Brooklyn that lasted over a month, and five days of deliberation by the jury, Shkreli was convicted of two counts of securities fraud and one of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He was found not guilty on five other charges, mostly related to wire fraud accusations.
Prosecutors said a mountain of testimony and evidence at trial showed that Shkreli duped multiple investors into putting millions of dollars into two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, by falsely claiming to have an excellent record of running such funds, and by falsely stating his investment strategy had a low level of risk.
Prosecutors said Shkreli lost most of his investors’ money or shunted it away into his pharmaceutical company, Retrophin, but sent investors faked financial statements claiming they were making steady returns. When investors demanded their money back, he “brushed them off for months or more, inventing excuses and suggesting alternative ways to pay them back,” such as buying them a hamburger next Tuesday or finding a guy to be their butler. Then, prosecutors alleged, Shkreli skimmed cash from Retrophin stock and cash reserves to pay back some investors. The ghost of Charles Ponzi scoffed and called Shkreli a pathetic amateur.
Shkreli escaped conviction on some of the most serious charges, and told reporters outside the court that he was super, thanks for asking, and he was
Shkreli’s own lawyer asking for a mistrial because Shkreli refused to STFU about his own case.
“delighted to report” that he had been acquitted of what he called “the most important charges” in the case.
Following the verdict, Shkreli remained the irrepressible shitheel America has come to loathe:
Asked about his client’s social-media antics, attorney Ben Brafman conceded it was something they would be working on.
“There is an image issue that Martin and I are going to be discussing in the next few days,” he said, adding that while Shkreli was a brilliant mind, sometimes his “people skills” need work. As he spoke, Shkreli smiled and cocked his head quizzically in mock confusion.
Shkrelli had to be cautioned by the judge to remain quiet in court after he ranted to reporters that prosecutors “blame me for everything […] They blame me for capitalism.”
Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison, although he’ll probably receive a shorter sentence. He will remain free on $5 million bail until sentenced in a hearing that hasn’t been scheduled yet.
Legal scholars remain divided on whether defendants like Shkreli should also be subjected to an Insufferable Dickhead penalty at sentencing.
Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations; please click the “Donate” linky to help. And yes, the Commenting Rules remain in effect, even for this yutz.