Saturday, September 25, 2021

Controversial US pharma exec gets 7-year prison sentence for securities fraud

New York, Mar 9 (EFE).- A federal judge in the New York City borough of Brooklyn on Friday sentenced controversial American pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli to seven years in prison for securities fraud.

The 34-year-old was convicted last August of having defrauded investors in two hedge funds he operated – MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare.

Those crimes were unrelated to his notorious actions as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, including raising the price of an anti-parasite drug the company had acquired from $13.50 to $750 a pill.

Prosecutors were seeking a 15-year prison sentence, but Judge Kiyo Matsumoto decided on a seven-year term; Shkreli also will get credit for the six months he has served since having his bail revoked and being detained at a Brooklyn jail last September.

Martin Shkreli, former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, arrives to the United States federal courthouse for another day of jury deliberations in his trial in Brooklyn, New York, USA, 02 August 2017 (issued 09 March 2018). Martin Shkreli has been sentenced to seven years for defrauding investors in a US District Court. EFE

Local media reported that Shkreli, who had defiantly defended the drug price hike and cultivated a cock-sure attitude on social media, tearfully pleaded with the judge for leniency at his sentencing hearing.

During the hearing, prosecutor Jacquelyn Kasulis said Shkreli should serve 15 years behind bars not because he is the “most hated man in America” but because of the criminal fraud he committed.

Shkreli was convicted of misleading investors about the performance of his hedge funds, including producing bogus reports touting strong gains by investors in MSMB Capital when the opposite was true.

He also was found to have illegally moved funds from a pharmaceutical company he founded, Retrophin, to pay hedge-fund investors who were demanding cash redemptions on their investments.

He is expected to appeal the conviction.

On Monday, the judge ordered Shkreli to forfeit more than $7.3 million in assets to the federal government.