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Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli jailed for seven years

'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli jailed for seven years

Outspoken former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli will serve seven years in prison, a sentence handed down Friday following securities fraud convictions related to two hedge funds and a drug company that he once ran.

Shkreli was convicted in August for crimes committed between 2009 and 2011, when he covered up heavy losses at his two hedge funds and then plundered cash from a biotech group to mask the problems.

Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said in justifying sentence that " offenses were extremely serious" and recalled that Shkreli deceived investors about size of funds and ir experience.

During hearing in which he was to be sentenced, his lawyer Benjamin Frafman tried to lower his sentence by arguing that his client had spent six months in equivalent of a maximum-security prison.

"It's like the kids today who hit send before they really understand what they texted", Brafman said.

"For years, Shkreli told lie after lie in order to steal his investors' money, manipulate the stock market and enrich himself", said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

She said it was clear he is a "tremendously gifted individual who has the capacity for kindness". The judge says she did not take his outside actions into account. "I took down Martin Shkreli with my disgraceful and shameful actions", a sobbing Shkreli said Friday, his voice cracking and his address interrupted by the judge passing along a box of tissues.

Shkreli became notorious for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent and trolling critics online. Prosecutors wanted at least 15.

Prosecutors argued the 34-year-old was a master manipulator who conned wealthy investors and deserved 15 years in prison.

"Thank you very much, Your Honor", Shkreli said.

Unapologetic from the beginning, when he was publicly criticised for increasing the price of the previously-cheap Daraprim to about $956 per pill, Shkreli seemed to drift through his criminal case as if it was one big joke.

John Coffee, director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School, said Shkreli would probably have been prosecuted even without the Daraprim controversy.

Finally, a Wu-Tang Clan album has now become property of the federal government in March because Shkreli has been ordered to forfeit more than $7 million.

"While awaiting sentencing, he tweeted that if someone "[grabbed] a hair" from Hillary Clinton's head when she was on a book tour, he'd pay them $5,000 per hair-which made the court revoke his bail in September.

Other testimonials on the defendant's behalf were more offbeat, with one follower of Shkreli's social media commentary describing it as "on par with some form of performance art."Another backer relayed Shkreli's adopting a cat from a shelter, with the feline named Trashy becoming a fixture in his livestreams on YouTube".

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