Shkreli, known for hiking price of life-saving Aids drug, faces securities fraud charges that could lead to 20-year sentence in a case he calls a ‘witch-hunt’
A jury will begin deliberations on Monday in the trial on securities fraud charges against the entrepreneur Martin Shkreli, who faces up to 20 years in prison.
The 34-year-old gained notoriety in 2015, when he purchased the commercial rights and then ruthlessly increased the cost of Daraprim, a life-saving Aids medication. Since then, he has maintained his reputation with a provocative presence on social media. This year he was suspended from Twitter, for harassing the journalist Lauren Duca.
As arguments wrapped up in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, Shkreli, known to many as “the most hated man in America”, was accused by government prosecutors of telling “lies upon lies” to investors and regarding himself as “above the law”. Shkreli’s lawyer told the jury his client was a genius and a target for “rich person ‘BS’”.
In terminology reminiscent of one of his idols, Donald Trump, Shkreli used Facebook to tell his fans he was the victim of a witch-hunt.
Shkreli was arrested in December 2015. He is accused of running businesses in the style of pyramid or Ponzi schemes, fooling investors while using their capital to pay off others and settle personal debts. He has pleaded not guilty.
The assistant US attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis told jurors in the month-long trial the defense had given them a “fairy tale” portrait of Shkreli, as a hyper-intelligent healthcare entrepreneur who never knowingly deceived investors.
“It’s time,” she said. “Time for Martin Shkreli to be held responsible for his choices. His choices to lie, deceive and steal. The last four weeks have exposed Martin Shkreli for who he really is – a conman who stole millions of dollars.”
Shkreli opted not to testify in his own defense. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said all of his client’s investors had made money.
Another prosecutor, the US assistant attorney Alixandra Smith, said in closing statements Shkreli had lied about the size of his hedge funds, whether such funds were being audited and their financial health. He even lied about attending Columbia University, she said.
Shkreli is charged with defrauding investors at two hedge funds he started, MSMB Capital Management and MSMB Healthcare Management. When…