'Pharma Bro' faces high stakes sentencing in fraud case

Credit AP

'Not the government. There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli'.

Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman described Shkreli as a misunderstood eccentric who used unconventional means to make his defrauded investors even wealthier.

Shkreli, who was already ordered to forfeit $7.36 million, was fined $75,000 and received credit for the almost six months he has spent behind bars.

Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli after the jury issued a verdict at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of NY in Brooklyn on August 4, 2017.

Shkreli is set to be sentenced at the end of this week, and in anticipation of that sentencing he recently wrote a long letter to the judge, requesting a lenient sentence of somewhere between 12 and 18 months, a light prison stay compared to the ten years or more that many legal experts are expecting him to get. "But Martin's fine and he will be fine", he said.

While he was chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals in 2015, he jacked up the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim, a treatment for HIV patients, from $13.50 a pill to $750.

Shkreli seemed to treat the case like a big joke.

It focused on how Shkreli - before becoming the "most hated man in America" - ran his hedge funds and pharmaceutical company.

Shkreli was later thrown of Twitter for harassing a female journalist, and caused controversy by making speeches with the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis had said a 15 year sentence was justified in part because Shkreli's crimes were not an "isolated lapse in judgment", but a pattern of conduct including separate frauds for his two hedge funds and for his drug company Retrophin Inc. He's been jailed since September after he offered a $5,000 bounty for some of Hillary Clinton's hair.

At the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Jacqueline Kasulis slammed Shkreli as an unrepentant fraudster who cares only about himself and his supersized ego. "This case is not about Mr. Shkreli's self-cultivated public persona. nor his controversial statements about politics or culture", Matsumoto said. "He's not a teenager who just needs some mentoring". The judge said the property would not be seized until Shkreli had a chance to appeal.

"He shouldn't be sentenced simply for being Martin Shkreli", Brafman said.

The judge ruled earlier this week that Shkreli would have to forfeit more than $7.3 million in a brokerage account and personal assets including his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that he boasted he bought for $2 million.

"There are times I want to punch him in the face, because he's made my job more hard by some of the things he's said", #MartinShkreli's lawyer Benjamin Brafman tells judge at sentencing. "I know right from wrong".

"I am here because of my gross, stupid and negligent mistakes I made".

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