Martin Shkreli, accused of defrauding his hedge fund investors and a pharmaceutical company, was convicted on three of eight counts on Friday, after a five-week trial in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn. He faces as much as 20 years in prison.
The conviction, even as a mixed verdict, was a shattering defeat for the divisive Mr. Shkreli, who said before the trial that he was "so innocent" that the judge, jury and prosecutors would apologize to him afterwards. Mr. Shkreli was accused of securities and wire fraud related to two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. Prosecutors charged he then illegally used a pharmaceutical company he founded, Retrophin, to repay the defrauded MSMB investors.
The prosecution brought forth an "avalanche" of evidence, as the prosecutor Jacqueline Kasulis put it in her rebuttal argument, that included a threatening letter he sent to the wife of a former employee, statements he sent to MSMB investors showing great returns at the same time he had no money in fund accounts, three versions of a backdated agreement to make it look as if MSMB Capital had invested in Retrophin when it had not, as well as claims about assets under management that were wildly out of line with his actual fund size.
The government argued that Mr. Shkreli had lied to investors about issues like whether his hedge funds had an auditor or law firm working on it, and about their liquidity. He lost everything in MSMB Capital after a bad trade in February 2011, and hid that fact, sending investors statements for more than a year and a half showing strong returns - even though the fund didn't trade after that month, and had no assets.
Mr. Shkreli became widely known after raising the price of a drug called Daraprim to $750 a pill from $13.50 overnight. He courted controversy, defending the price increase, then bragging that he had bought the sole copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album for a reported $1 million. The case against him, however, has nothing to do with Daraprim pricing and the federal investigation into Mr. Shkreli's hedge fund and Retrophin work began well before that.