Disgraced pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli has been jailed for defrauding investors in two failed hedge funds. Shkreli, known for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug, cried in court.
A New York court sentenced former drug company chief Martin Shkreli to seven years in prison over a fraud case on Friday. The court also ordered Shkreli to pay a fine of $75,000 (€60,900), just days after ruling that the 34-year-old businessman would need to forfeit $7.3 million held in a brokerage account and personal assets.
Shkreli was found guilty last August of defrauding his investors in two failed hedge funds, and then looting money from his drug company to cover their loses.
Appearing before court on Friday, Shkreli tearfully apologized to the investors.
He said "the only person to blame for me being here today is me."
"I took down Martin Shkreli with my disgraceful and shameful actions," he added. "I am terribly sorry I lost your trust."
While Shkreli was convicted on fraud charges, he is much better known for an unrelated incident of price-gouging of an essential drug.
Shkreli was at the head of the company Turing Pharmaceutical in 2015, when the firm bought the rights to the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim. The drug is used to treat a strain of pneumonia for people with weakened immune systems, including HIV patients. After buying the rights to Daraprim, Shkreli increased the price of the drug by over 55 times,— a single pill rose from $13.50 to $750.
The move caused outrage and earned Shkreli the nickname of "Pharma Bro." Shkreli seemed to revel in criticism, mocking his detractors and refusing to testify about his decision before US Congress. He appeared in the chamber, but responded to questions by smirking, twirling a pencil and yawning. He later tweeted that the lawmakers were "imbeciles."
He also compared raising the price of the life-saving drug to raising the price of an Aston Martin.
Once upon a time in Wall Street
On Friday, judge Kiyo Matsumoto said the fraud case was not about Shkreli's "self-cultivated public persona."
She described Shkreli as a privately "kind individual" based on the testimonies of his acquaintances and family. However, she added that "fraud and manipulation are serious offenses that will incur correspondibly serious penalties."
The assets that Shkreli would be required to hand over include his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album, called "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin." Shkreli bought the album for $2 million in 2015, but claims he has never listened to it.
dj/aw (AP, Reuters)