This past week saw the conviction of what BBC once called “the most hated man in America” for wire and securities fraud. The Court of Public Opinion has already decided that he was guilty and it seems like the verdict was just a formality.
Martin Shkreli was convicted on August 4th of 3 counts of wire and securities fraud. He was acquitted of 5 more serious charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison. While he was already convicted in the court of opinion for his actions as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, but he wasn’t charged with anything for his gleeful exorbitant price hike of a life-saving drug. Mr. Shkreli’s convictions were for his lying to hedge fund investors in another company that he found called Retrophin Pharmaceuticals.
He founded Retrophin Pharmaceuticals with investments from hedge funds. He secretly compensated the hedge fund investors with Retrophin stock that was valued at $3 a share and couldn’t be sold easily. His losses eventually amounted to $11 million. After Retrophin went public, all of the hedge investors were compensated and actually profited. Some profited by thousands and some by millions.
Mr. Shkreli’s defense lawyers tried to make it a point in the trial that no one lost any money and that all investors were eventually compensated and actually made money from his actions. They tried to paint him as a very unorthodox CEO, but a successful one.
Martin Shkreli tried to paint the picture that he was only brought up on these charges because of how outspoken he was in raising the price of the life saving Daraprim by 5000%. He gleefully expressed his joy in raising the price and was quoted as saying that if he could find another life saving drug, he would raise its price by a similar amount. When brought in front of the Senate to explain his price increases, he called the Senators imbeciles. He became a poster boy for brash greed.
Not surprisingly, the Court of Public Opinion put him under intense scrutiny and this lead to the discovery of his questionable actions at Retrophin. Prosecutors were able to show his multiple lies, including his college background(He didn’t graduate from Columbia University) and even his actions to try to woo a gay investor with steamy emails.
Mr. Shkreli will certainly appeal the guilty verdicts. He made his views about the case very clear on a Facebook post right after the verdicts were read. He made it clear what he felt about the convictions. He proudly stuck his tongue out to the world.