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Martin Shkreli

‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli could get more than a decade in prison

A judge has decided he’s responsible for $10.5 million in losses

Martin Shkreli, a media-proclaimed ‘pharma bro’ who first garnered public attention for raising the price of medication used by HIV and Aids patients, has been on trial for his part in a security frauds scheme. It now looks like he could be getting a much harsher sentence than first thought.

A judge on Monday (February 26) ruled in the Brooklyn federal court that the former pharmaceutical chief executive should be held responsible for almost $10.5 million in investors’ losses. As the Washington Post reports, judge Kiyo Matsumoto rejected Shkreli’s attorney’s assertion that investors in his hedge funds didn’t have any tangible losses, as he had instead given them drug company stock in compensation that covered their original investments and more. 

Shkreli was convicted for securities fraud last year, found guilty on six out of eight counts. At the time he said he was “delighted”, as he thought he would not face prison time.

His legal team had then hoped Shkreli would get around 16 months in prison and on Monday’s trial bid to have his previous conviction totally thrown out. Judge Matsumoto rejected this, adding that he had made risky investments and kept his drug company afloat using unknowing investors’ millions without permission.

He now faces up to 20 years in prison and could spend at least a decade behind bars, though the judge is not bound by this sentencing rule. 

A statement from Ben Brafman, a lawyer for Shkreli said he was: “disappointed by the ruling but still hopeful that the court will find it in her heart to impose a reasonably lenient sentence”. 

Shkreli became notorious for increasing the price of Daraprim, a drug used by HIV and Aids patients, by 5,000 per cent. He’s also bragged across social media about one-of-a-kind albums he’s bought, and aggressively harassed Teen Vogue columnist Lauren Duca on Twitter.

A hearing last week saw prosecutors ask the judge to order Shkreli hand over $7.3 million in assets, including the unique Wu-Tang Clan album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin he bought for $2 million. This has yet to be decided upon.

Judge Matsumoto revoked his bail last year after he made threats on Facebook to Hillary Clinton, offering $5,000 to anyone who obtained a lock of her hair. 

Shkreli awaits sentencing in Brooklyn’s federal jail March 9.