‘Pharma Bro’ tearfully apologizes, then sentenced to prison
NEW YORK (AP) — Martin Shrkeli, the smirking “Pharma Bro” vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug, was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison for defrauding investors in two failed hedge funds.
The self-promoting pharmaceutical executive notorious for trolling critics online was convicted in a securities fraud case last year unconnected to the price increase dispute.
Shkreli, his cocky persona nowhere to be found, cried as he told U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto he made many mistakes and apologized to investors.
“I want the people who came here today to support me to understand one thing, the only person to blame for me being here today is me,” he said. “I took down Martin Shkreli.”
He said that he hopes to make amends and learn from his mistakes and apologized to his investors.
“I am terribly sorry I lost your trust,” he said. “You deserve far better.”
Prosecutors argued that the 34-year-old was a master manipulator who conned wealthy investors and deserved 15 years in prison. His lawyers said he was a misunderstood eccentric who used unconventional means to make those same investors even wealthier, and deserved 18 months or less in prison.
The judge insisted that the punishment was not about Shkreli’s online antics or raising the cost of the drug.
“This case is not about Mr. Shkreli’s self-cultivated public persona ... nor his controversial statements about politics or culture,” the judge said, calling his crimes serious.
He was also fined $75,000 and received credit for the roughly six months he has been in prison.
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. The judge said the property would not be seized until Shkreli had a chance to appeal.
Attorney Benjamin Brafman told Matsumoto Friday that he sometimes wants to hug Shkreli and sometimes wants to punch him in the face , but he said his outspokenness shouldn’t be held against him.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said Shkreli deserved the stiffer sentence not because he is “the most hated man in America,” but because he is a criminal convicted of serious fraud. She said the judge had to consider his history and said he has “no respect whatsoever” for the law, or the court proceedings.