Pharma Bro who ‘ripped off’ HIV patients found guilty of three counts of fraud
Notorious pharma exec Martin Shkreli, most famous for trying to rip off AIDS patients, has been found guilty of three counts of securities fraud.
Turing Pharmaceuticals founder Martin Shkreli came under fire in 2015 after buying the rights to 62-year-old drug Daraprim, which is used to treat conditions including AIDS-related toxoplasmosis, and jacking up the price to $750 a pill – a 5500% price.
Shkreli was removed as the company’s CEO after he was arrested over unrelated fraud allegations, but has maintained a media profile as a Donald Trump supporter.
A federal jury found a split verdict, with the three guilty findings and acquitting the self-style pharma bro of five other criminal counts.
Prosecutors had claimed that Shkreli had defrauded a number of investors in two hedge funds, and taken millions of dollars.
The split verdict reportedly confused Shkreli who looked over at his lawyer Marc Agnifilo each time a “not guilty” then a “guilty” verdict was read out by Judge Kiyo Matsumoto.
A juror anonymously told the New York Times: “In some of the counts at least we couldn’t find that he intentionally stole from them and the reasoning was to hurt them.”
Shkreli currently remains free on a $5 million bond faces up to 20 years in prison.
“I think we are delighted in many ways,” said Shkreli said outside of the courthouse.
“This was a witch hunt of epic proportions and maybe they found one or two broomsticks but at the end of the day we’ve been acquitted of the most important charges in this case.”
He later livestreamed from his apartment, using a new Twitter account @samthemanTP to comment on the case.
Lead lawyer Benjamin Brafman told journalists: “I hope tomorrow’s reports inform the public that Martin Shkreli went to trial and despite being Martin Shkreli he won more than he lost.”
However, acting US Attorney Bridget Rohde added: “We’re gratified as we stand here today at the jury’s verdict.”
Saying: “Justice has been served”.
Earlier this year, Shkreli was banned from Twitter after encouraging a harassment campaign against Teen Vogue journalist Lauren Duca, who had written a piece critical of the US President.
He sent her tweets offering her a date to Trump’s inauguration and joked about his “small crush on @laurenduca” before the harassment got out of hand.
Ms Duca complained to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey after discovering that Shkreli had downloaded dozens of photos of her and made them into a collage, also photoshopping himself over a picture of her husband and setting it as his profile picture.
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Shkreli appeared before Congress last year – but refused to answer nearly every question that was put to him.
Asked about his actions, he said: “On the advice of counsel, I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, and respectfully decline your question.”
Asked about AIDS patients struggling to afford their medication, he said: “On the advice of counsel, I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, and respectfully decline your question.”
When challenged about his refusal to cooperate, he told a lawmaker: “I intend to follow the advice of my counsel, not yours.”