- REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical CEO best known for a 2015 price-gouging scandal, was convicted Friday on two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
He was found not guilty on five other counts in the case: three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
He faces as much as to 20 years in prison.
Shkreli said during a press conference after the jury’s announcement that he was “delighted by the verdict” since he was found not guilty on a key charge regarding his former drug company Retrophin.
“This was a witch hunt of epic proportions,” Shkreli said. “Maybe they found one or two broomsticks, but at the end of the day we’ve been acquitted of the most important charges in this case, and I’m delighted to report that.”
Still, even the mixed verdict was a blow for Shkreli, who said before the trial that he was “so innocent” that the jury and prosecutors would have to apologize to him after the case.
Shkreli made headlines in September 2015 when as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals he raised the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat a parasitic infection, by more than 5,000%, earning him the nickname “pharma bro.” The charges in this trial weren’t related to that price hike but stemmed from events earlier in his career while he managed hedge funds.
In court, his lawyer had argued that his notoriety shouldn’t influence the case.
“You may not like Martin Shkreli,” the lawyer, Ben Brafman, said in his opening statement. “And you may have reasons to hate Martin Shkreli, but that is not a basis on which to convict.”
Prosecutors had argued that starting in 2009, Shkreli lost money in two hedge funds he ran, hid that from his investors, and instead paid them back with money from Retrophin.