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12 Months Or 27 Years For ‘Pharma Bro’ Fraudster?

Shkreli

Martin Shkreli’s lies cost investors over $10 million, according to a judge, and the ‘Pharma Bro’s’ unapologetic attitude hasn’t helped, either. In only nine days, the world’s most-hated CEO may find remorse in a hefty prison sentence.

Shkreli was convicted of fraud back in August 2017, but no one was sure whether he’d spend any serious time behind bars.

A jury found him guilty last August of securities fraud charges by lying to investors about the performance of his hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. He also was found guilty of conspiring to manipulate the stock price of a drug company he founded called Retrophin Inc.

Shkreli calls it all a “witch hunt of epic proportions”, and has based his defense on his claim that while he misled people, ultimately no one lost any money.

The prosecution begs to differ: They claim those misled people lost between $9 million and $20 million—maybe more.

The distinction would mean the difference between a sentence of 16 months or less and a decade.

On Monday, Judge Kiyo Matsumoto gave us a bit more insight into exactly how much time Shkreli might spend in jail.

Matsumoto ruled that the crimes committed by Shkreli resulted in losses amounting to $10.4 million. Based on this amount, under federal sentencing guidelines, he would likely face a sentence of at least a decade, and as hefty as 27 years.

As far as the judge is concerned, it’s of no consequence that Shkreli ended up paying Retrophin investors in shares or via settlement agreements—he will still be held responsible for defrauding them to the tune of millions of dollars.

For the first time during the trial, Shkreli expressed remorse following the judge’s ruling on Monday, promising Matsumoto that he would be “more careful, open and honest” if “granted mercy in sentencing…” Related: The Bearish Case For Gold Stocks

It’s a type of remorse that has been absent since he achieved public fame by acquiring a drug used to treat a disease fatal to HIV patients and bumping it with a 5,000-percent increase. Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals bought Daraprim, used to treat toxoplasmosis, and promptly raised its price from less than $20 per tablet to $750.  

Even during trial, there was no sense of remorse. Last September, he hit up social media at one point, offering a $5,000 bounty for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair. The antic won him room and board in a federal jail cell, where he’s been ever since.

Sentencing is scheduled for 9 March, and Shkreli is hoping to get only 12-18 months in prison.

The ‘Pharma Bro’ says he made some “serious mistakes”, but still believes he’s a “good person with much potential,” according to a Reuters reported citing a letter to the judge from Shkreli.

Next week, the prosecutors are expected to submit their own proposal for how much time, based on federal guidelines, Shkreli should spend behind bars.

By David Craggen for Safehaven.com

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