Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Goes On Trial For Securities Fraud

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Goes On Trial For Securities Fraud 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Goes On Trial For Securities Fraud
Frederick Owens | 27 June, 2017, 05:45

Martin Shkreli, the former Turing Pharmaceuticals executive, arrives for the first day of jury selection in his federal securities fraud trial Monday at U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y.

He faces eight counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud. He allegedly used funds from his pharmaceutical company Retrophin to pay off departing investors in other hedge funds which he managed previously.

Shkreli sparked outrage in 2015 for increasing the price of Daraprim, a drug used by AIDS patients, by more than 5,000% from $13.50 to $750 a pill while he was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Brafman had advised Shkreli to keep quiet as he awaited the trial-he was charged and released on $5 million bail in December 2015.

That attention has included stories about his purchase, for a whopping $2 million, of a single-copy album by the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, his heckling of Clinton outside her daughter's Manhattan apartment after she fainted last September 11 after a 9/11 memorial event and his banning from Twitter for harassing a female journalist.

Shkreli is accused of lying about hedge fund MSMB Capital Management's finances to entice investors, while hiding trading losses from them. Earlier this year, he was banned from Twitter for harassing a journalist.

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Federal prosecutors claim Shkreli mismanaged between 2009 and 2014 money in several investment funds he was managing, including Retrophin. He is also accused of defrauding those investors.

"I'm excited", Shkreli recently said about the trial.

Shkreli's attention-seeking has at times exasperated his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, who urged Matsumoto last week not to give much weight to his client's "preposterous statements". "Whatever else he did wrong, he ultimately made them whole". If he needed to raise cash to pay legal fees and back taxes, they argued, why not sell the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that he brought for $2 million or his Nazi-era Engima code-breaking machine?

In April, he offered $40,000 USA to a Princeton University student who solved a mathematical proof.

Nevertheless, Shkreli has also sent out pleas for money on the internet, offering on Facebook to answer people's questions for $20 a pop and asking his followers to donate Bitcoin to his account.

Prosecutors are expected to call as many as 57 witnesses, and lawyers on both sides said the trial could last five to six weeks.

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