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‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli convicted of security fraud

August 4, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Martin Shkreli hangs his head outside Brooklyn federal court after he was convicted of security fraud. Photo right: Shkreli's laywer, Benjamin Brafman. Eagle photos by Paul Frangipane.

Martin Shkreli, famous for trolling on social media and surging the price of a life-saving drug, was convicted of three counts of security fraud Friday for misleading investors in a pair of hedge funds.

On the fifth day of jury deliberations, Shkreli was found guilty of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud.

“It’s a scary feeling, it’s a daunting thing to feel the weight of the government on your shoulders,” Shkreli, 34, said outside the courthouse. “I think there’s only one man who can make that burden a little bit easier,” he said as he looked to his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman smiling.

Brafman assured a crowd of reporters that he will try to avoid a prison sentence for Shkreli and said the jury was “honest” and “tried very hard.”

Prosecutors pinned Shkreli with intentionally deceiving investors, telling some that he had about $40 million in one fund when it had only $300 in the bank. He was arrested in 2015 for paying investors back with $11 million in stock and cash from his former drug company, Retrophin.

“Justice has been served,” U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said outside the court. “We have been gratified throughout the trial at the close attention that the jury paid to the evidence, and we’re gratified as we stand here today at the jury’s verdict.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis told jurors at closing statements that there was an “avalanche of evidence in this case,” affirming that lying to people to get their money is fraudulent.

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Throughout about a month on trial, Brafman crutched his case on the fact that investors eventually got their money back and some became even richer.

From the beginning, the case brought complications when waves of jurors showed bias after Shkreli made his voice heard constantly in news and social media.

He first made his name publically known when he increased the price of a life-saving drug 5,000 percent, making each pill $750.

“Despite being Martin Shkreli, he won more than he lost,” Brafman said, adding that people will read about Shkreli finding future cures for fatal diseases if he avoids a prison term.

Shkreli could face 20 years in prison at sentencing.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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