Jail for ‘most hated man in US’ Shkreli

Martin Shkreli arrives for his trial at US Federal Court in BrooklynImage copyrightReuters

Martin Shkreli, the former drug firm executive found guilty of defrauding investors, has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

The 34-year-old wept at a hearing as a federal court judge in Brooklyn, New York, handed down the prison term.

Shkreli was convicted last year of sending fake account statements to investors while concealing huge losses from two hedge funds he ran.

Jail for ‘most hated man in US’ Shkreli
Jail for ‘most hated man in US’ Shkreli

He first became notorious in 2015 for hiking the price of a lifesaving drug.

His lawyers had asked the judge to impose a sentence of 12 to 18 months, while prosecutors were seeking at least 15 years.

Image copyrightReuters
Image caption Attorney Benjamin Brafman arrives for a hearing for his client, former drug company executive Martin Shkreli,

“I’ve got my begging voice on,” Shkreli’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman told the judge on Friday, while acknowledging his client could be annoying.

“There are times when I want to hug him and hold him and comfort him and there are times when I want to punch him in the face,” said Mr Brafman.

Shkreli struck a contrite note in a letter he wrote to the judge last month saying: “I was a fool.”

As Judge Kiyo A Matsumoto imposed the sentence she said Mr Shkreli had told an “egregious multitude of lies”, the New York Times reports.

“I was never motivated by money”, said Shkreli, according to the paper, “I wanted to grow my stature and my reputation. I am here because of my gross, stupid and negligent mistakes I made”.

In 2015 the youthful executive made headlines after he founded Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim and raised its price by 5,000% to $750 (£540) per pill.

The medication is used to treat Aids patients, the pregnant and elderly. Price gouging is not illegal or even unusual in the US pharmaceutical industry.

But Shkreli became a poster boy for corporate excess, and was dubbed “Pharma Bro” and the “most hated man in America”.

In December 2015, he was charged with securities fraud charges and looting millions of dollars from two hedge funds he operated, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare.

During the trial last year, Shkreli called the prosecution “junior varsity” in off-the-cuff remarks to reporters covering his trial.

Prosecutors sought a gag order on him after that outburst, but the judge denied their application.

After a jury found him guilty in August last year, Shkreli was allowed to remain free pending sentencing.

But a month later he offered social media followers $5,000 if they could bring him hair from former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A judge revoked bail and Shkreli was jailed.

Prosecutors moved to seize $7.4m of his assets, including a single copy of an album by American hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan that the disgraced executive paid $2m for at auction in 2015.

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