Martin Shkreli, once dubbed “the most hated man in America,” is now a convicted felon.
Shkreli, notorious for raising the price of a potentially life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, was found guilty Friday of defrauding investors in two hedge funds and in Retrophin Inc., a pharmaceutical company he co-founded.
He is now almost certain to go to prison.
Shkreli faces as long as 20 years behind bars, although he’s likely to serve much less. U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto allowed him to return home and wished Shkreli well after the verdict was read. She said she would see him soon, though she hasn’t set a date for sentencing.
“This was a witch hunt of epic proportions,” a smiling Shkreli, flanked by his lawyers, told reporters outside the Brooklyn, New York, courthouse following the verdict. “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.”
Shkreli was convicted of three of eight charges, including securities fraud. He was acquitted of fraud charges related to allegations that he looted Retrophin to pay off his hedge-fund investors. Sentencing guidelines take into consideration the size of losses, so the Retrophin allegations carried the potential for the most severe penalty.
In the end, it was Shkreli’s lies to his investors that cost him his freedom, not his 2015 decision to jack up the price of an anti-parasitic drug. Prosecutors said Shkreli, 34, misled clients about the performance of his failing hedge funds, secretly used their money to start Retrophin, and then took $11 million from the drug-development company to repay them.
The verdict came on the fifth day of deliberations after a monthlong trial that sometimes resembled a circus. Shkreli’s notoriety for boosting the price of Daraprim made jury selection a time-consuming process as dozens of prospective jurors expressed contempt for him. One called him a “snake,” and another said he was “the face of corporate greed.” Neither was selected for the panel.
Hailed as “Pharma Bro” by his online supporters, Shkreli has won a following for sharing much of his life on the Internet, broadcasting live from his Manhattan apartment.
In the evenings after a long day in court, he could be seen chatting with his followers, petting his cat, combing his hair and playing chess. While he was kicked off Twitter for harassing a female journalist, he’s been on Facebook during the trial to rail against prosecutors.