‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli, more commonly known as the most hated man in the world, has been jailed for seven years for securities fraud.
The disgraced pharmaceutical CEO was sentenced in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday after crying to the judge and asking for mercy.
The maximum sentenced he faced was 20 years. Prosecutors wanted to see him imprisoned for 15 years.
Shkreli, 34, was found guilty of two counts of securities fraud and a single count of conspiracy in August last year and has been in custody since September when he had his bail revoked.
During his sentencing hearing on Friday, Shkreli sobbed and told the judge he had made many mistakes.
Referring to himself in the third person, he said: ‘The only person to blame for me being here is me.
‘There is no government conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli. I took down Martin Shkreli with my disgraceful and shameful actions.’
It has not yet been decided where he will spend his time behind bars. He has been at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, which he calls ‘Club Fed’, since September.
He also has to forfeit $7.4million in cash and assets which include a Picasso painting. and two hip-hop albums; a rare Wu-Tang Clan recording that he bought at auction for $2million and ‘Tha Carter V’ by Lil Wayne.
Shkreli is best known for raising the prices of a lifesaving HIV drug by a disgusting 5,000% for his own profit but his crimes are unrelated.
In 2015, Shkreli was arrested on securities fraud charges after using a Ponzi scheme to defraud investors in his pharmaceutical company.
He argued that because the defrauded parties got all of their money back and then some, he should not have been jailed.
He was initially granted bail and was arrogant about his fate, saying that he did not believe he was ever going to see the inside of a cell.
That changed in September when his bail was revoked after he was caught offering his online fans $5,000 if they were able to grab a sample of Hillary Clinton’s hair.
On Friday, his voice cracked as he apologized to his family.
‘This is my fault. I am not the victim here… Please give me a chance to show what I’m capable of,’ he said.
Surprisingly, he said he was ‘never motivated by money’ and that his outlandish and astonishingly unlikeable public persona was an attempt to build a reputation.
Even the man’s own lawyer said he disliked him.
‘There are times when I want to punch him in the face,’ Benjamin Brafman, who was representing him, said.
After the sentencing, Brafman said Shkreli was doing ‘fine’.
Prosecutors welcome the sentence on Friday.
‘For years, Shkreli told lie after lie in order to steal his investors’ money, manipulate the stock market and enrich himself.
‘He will now pay the price for repeatedly violating the trust placed in him by his investors, his employees, and the public. It remains a priority of this Office, together with our law enforcement partners, to identify, investigate and bring to justice criminals like Shkreli,’ US Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement afterward.
‘Martin Shkreli was notoriously ambitious, seeking to enrich himself at the expense of those who unwittingly invested in his lies.
‘His crimes have been laid bare for all to see, and his intentions, which have been proven true beyond a reasonable doubt, resulted in this sentencing today.
‘While we can now close this chapter of our investigation, our efforts continue to uncover and expose all crimes of this nature that claim innocent victims and defraud our financial markets,’ added William F. Sweeney, Jr., FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge.
Jurors had been told to disregard the scandal which made Shkreli famous and focus instead on the fraud.
During the trial, prosecutors accused Shkreli of dishonestly using investors’ cash between 2009 and 2014 after having them invest in two hedge funds that he worked – MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare
He has already been told he must forfeit $7.4million in assets, including a $2million Wu-Tang Clan album and Picasso painting.
Prosecutors alleged that Shkreli inflated his two companies’ profits and misappropriated cash.
In 2011, when he started his pharmaceutical company Retrophin, he is claimed to have used money from its accounts to settle the concerns of MSMB investors.
Among the investors involved in the criminal case against him is 63-year-old Steven Richardson who poured $400,000 into the fund in 2009 and 2010.
Richardson, a retired American Express executive who later became a Retrophin chairman, testified last year that during the course of their business relationship, Shkreli made comments about having sex with male colleagues and waiters in restaurants they visited.
‘I was gay and had a partner, and he was starting to say certain things of a gay nature that worried me a bit.
‘I thought maybe he was saying things to me because he thought I would want to hear them.
‘They just felt a bit uncomfortable to me.
‘He was saying things to me, like, “Maybe I’ll have sex with a guy in the office,” or we’d be at a restaurant and there’d be a waiter and he’d say, “Maybe I should hook up with him.”‘
Shkreli was arrogant throughout the proceedings and maintained his social media profile.
On Facebook, he shared videos with fans and he gave media interviews.
In one, which he gave after his own arrest in December 2015, he made a crude remark about Taylor Swift as he spoke lovingly of the Wu-Tang Clan and the precious rare album he bought at auction for $2million.
The album was among items he flogged on eBay as his legal woes mounted.
He also sold a fidget spinner for an astonishing $10,000.
In October, he sent a letter to a friend describing the prison where he is currently being housed as ‘not that bad’.
He complained that he was not sleeping well and that his bed was small.
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