Martin Shkreli cries before sentenced to seven years in prison
Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, best known for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug and creating a bombastic online persona, was sentenced to seven years in federal prison on Friday after being convicted of securities fraud last summer.
As he pleaded Judge Kiyo Matsumoto for a lenient sentence, the 34-year-old who repeatedly lied to investors, defrauding them, sobbed from the defense table in Brooklyn’s federal court.
“I look back and I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” Shkreli said in blue prison garb. “I was never motivated by money. I wanted to grow my stature and reputation. I am here because of my gross, stupid and negligent mistakes I made.”
“There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli. I took down Martin Shkreli,” he added before the judge passed down a box of tissues.
While Shkreli is best known for increasing the price of the drug, Daraprim 5,000 percent from $13.50 to $750 a pill and creating a bad boy image on social media, years of lies to investors in two of his former hedge funds landed him the sentence.
Matsumoto said she would not be sentencing Shkreli on his infamous personality but on the seriousness of the “egregious” lies he used to commit securities fraud. Jurors found last August that Shkreli misled investors of his funds MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare while attempting to manipulate the price of the drug company he founded, Retrophin.
While the judge deemed him as “genuinely remorseful” and said she appreciated the 55 letters of support that came in for Shkreli, she also cited numerous times he minimized his punishment by mocking the prosecution.
Most recently while in prison in Brooklyn, where he was sent after offering a $5,000 bounty online for a strand of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s hair, he was caught sending an email that said he was expecting a low-end sentence.
“He refuses to take responsibility for his actions because he doesn’t want to,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said. “He has no respect for this process.”
Shkreli’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman spent nearly an hour reading passages from letters and listing kind acts to build a more “fulsome” image of Shkreli, as the judge put it.
“He’s a good person, judge, he’s not a perfect person,” Brafman said, arguing for 12 to 18 months’ prison time against prosecutors’ 15-year recommendation.
Immediately after being sentenced, Shkreli began writing on a paper in front of him and gave a thumbs up to his family in the court audience before he was escorted out.
Matsumoto also ruled that he forfeit nearly $7.4 million in assets, including a Pablo Picasso painting and the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” And after finding Shkreli’s net worth to be $27 million, she ordered a $75,000 fine.
Brafman told reporters outside the court that he was unhappy with the sentence and he is planning to appeal.
“I’m disappointed,” Brafman said. “The government did not get what they wanted, we did not get what we wanted either.”
As Shkreli’s been teaching inmates in prison since his bond was revoked in September, the judge wished him well and said she hoped he would continue with his lessons.
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