American businessman, Martin Shkreli, faces up to 20 years in prison after he was found guilty of 3 out of 8 counts. The “pharma bro” was accused of security fraud.

Shkreli was acquitted of five other criminal counts, related to hedge funds investors.  U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto ordered Shkreli to cease referring to the case while it’s open. No date for sentencing had been set yet.

Image Credit: Louis Lanzano / Bloomberg
Image Credit: Louis Lanzano / Bloomberg

“I think we are delighted in many ways,” said Shkreli said outside of the courthouse. “This was a witch hunt of epic proportions and maybe they found one or two broomsticks but at the end of the day we’ve been acquitted of the most important charges in this case.”

“Pharma bro” is the most hated man in America

34-year-old, Martin Shkreli is the co-founder of the hedge funds Elea Capital, MSMB Capital Management, and MSMB Healthcare. He is also the co-founder of the biotechnology firm Retrophin and the former CEO of  Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Earlier, in 2003, Shkreli who was 19, predicted that stock prices would fall which caught the eye of the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, they could not prove anything fraudulent. In December 2015, Shkreli was arrested by the FBI, accused on federal charges of securities fraud. And now he was accused of 8 different counts. However, on Friday he was absolved of 5 of the most serious counts.

Martin Shkreli is known to be one of the most hated men in the business. In 2015, he was highly criticized when Turing Pharmaceuticals got the manufacturing license for the antiparasitic drug Daraprim. The price of the price of the life-saving drug was raised on absurd proportions, more than 5,000 percent. He brags about being a Columbia University alum, but on the stand, it was proven he is not. These things had raised the discontent of the people towards him.

Shkreli has spent the last five weeks making comments about the trial with almost everyone; responding to critics in social media and talking about how he would outsmart the “junior varsity” prosecution. In fact, after the Friday trial, he started a live stream from his apartment at New York City to talk about the outcomes of the trial.

Shkreli duped multiple investors

However, even though the jury just found Shkreli was guilty of 3 counts instead of 8, he might face 20 years in jail still. His split verdict took place around 2 p.m. on the fifth day of deliberations after a five-week-trial in Brooklyn, New York, federal court.

Shkreli was livestreaming as he awaited his trial. Image Credit: CNN
Shkreli was live streaming as he awaited his trial. Image Credit: CNN

Prosecutors have accused Shkreli of defrauding different investors through his two hedge funds, to repair them millions of dollars with stock and cash that he robbed from the Retrophin, the biotechnology company he co-founded.

The decision was astonishing for many including Shkreli

The jury is comprised of seven women and five men. They accepted a part of the prosecution’s evidence rejecting most of their arguments.

As the verdict was said, many were perplexed. Even Sckreli showed astonishment, looking enquiringly at his lawyers when Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said the accused was not guilty of several counts.

“In some of the counts at least we couldn’t find that he intentionally stole from them and the reasoning was to hurt them.” Said one of the jurors.

Matsumoto didn’t specify a sentencing date. First, the prosecutors and the defense must try to get to a settlement, determining how much money Shkreli could have to pay. The aim of the defense lawyers is to prevent Shkreli from being sent to jail.

Right now, he is free on a $5 million bail. No matter what the outcomes will be, he is receiving a far-less-severe punishment than what everyone – including himself – thought he would.

Right after the trial, he commented the verdict on his Twitter account to weight on the decision of the court.

“I hope tomorrow’s reports inform the public that Martin Shkreli went to trial and despite being Martin Shkreli he won more than he lost,” Shkreli’s lead lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told a group of journalists. “I think we would love to have a complete sweep but five out of eight counts, not guilty, is in our view a very good verdict especially since count seven, the main count that impacts on the loss in this case, that was the most important count in the case from our perspective,” Brafman added.

Source: CNBC