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11 March 2018, 01:29 | Lucy Hill
Martin Shkreli's lawyer says feds are too harsh on convicted fraudster
In a packed Brooklyn court house on Friday, Martin Shkreli, the "Pharma Bro" who rose to worldwide notoriety after increasing the price of a lifesaving drug 50-fold, was sentenced to seven years in prison.
A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday heard from Shkreli, his lawyer, and the prosecution before determining a sentence based on his conviction on securities fraud. The crimes, related to stock manipulation of shares in Retrophin, one of Shkreli's companies, and ripping off hedge fund backers, could have carried a sentence of up to 20 years.
"There's no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli".
What we're seeing is a man getting sentenced to long stay in Federal Prison for being a supreme asshole who also did a dumb fraud.
The judge said she did not take his outside actions into account.
Judge Kiyo Matsumoto emphasised: "This case is not about pharmaceutical pricing or Mr Shkreli's controversial statements or actions, nor his scientific aptitude".
Shkreli has been in jail since September, when Matsumoto revoked his bail after he offered his social media followers $5,000 if they could bring him a hair from former USA presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Shkreli seemed to revel in criticism, mocking his detractors and refusing to testify about his decision before US Congress. But putting someone in prison for a big chunk of his most vital years for essentially having a deeply personality is harsh. "It is more than clear that Mr. Shkreli is a gifted individual with a passion for science", she said.
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While awaiting sentencing, Shkreli boasted that he would end up serving hardly any time and what time he did serve would be in the relatively posh environs of a "Club Fed" prison for white collar criminals. He has also been ordered to forfeit $7.3 million, which may include his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album and a painting by Pablo Picasso.
The defence submitted that Martin Shkreli is merely a "misunderstood eccentric" who used unconventional means to build wealth for his investors, while prosecutors characterised him as a "master manipulator" and conman, calling for a sentence of 15 years.
Matsumoto said before imposing her sentence that she believed Shkreli was genuinely remorseful and that the letters written by family, friends and acquaintances had helped her understand him more fully.
If you're not familiar with Martin Shkreli, the poster child for spoiled rotten dudebroism, he earned the name "Pharma Bro" after purchasing the manufacturing license for Daraprim-a life-saving antiparasitic drug-and increasing its cost by a factor of 56 (taking it from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill). I was across the street from 9/11; I've built businesses from zero to hero, many times over.
"This was a witch hunt of epic proportions", Shkreli said at the time, even if "one or two broomsticks" were unearthed.
Some of his supporters sent letters asking Matsumoto not to lay down a harsh sentence.
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