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Former Drug Company Exec Martin Shkreli Convicted of Fraud

  • VOA News

FILE- Pharmaceutical chief Martin Shkreli speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, during the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on his former company's decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medicine, Feb. 4, 2016.

A U.S. businessman, who made a dubious name for himself by jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug by more than 5,000 percent, has been convicted of securities fraud.

A Brooklyn jury, after five days of deliberations, found Martin Shkreli guilty Friday on two counts of securities fraud and a single count of conspiracy. He was acquitted on five other charges.

The 34-year-old entrepreneur was arrested in 2015 on charges he looted a drug company he founded of $11 million in stock and cash to pay back investors in two failed hedge funds he ran.

Shkreli's lawyers said no harm was done because all the investors were enriched by the scheme.

The investors who testified at the trial said they did not know about Shkreli maneuverings.

Media reports say less than an hour after the guilty verdict, Shkreli was live on YouTube, saying: “I’m one of the richest New Yorkers there is and after today’s verdict, it's going to stay that way.”

Legal analysts say Shkreli, who is facing up to 20 years in prison, will likely not receive that much time.

However, former federal prosecutor Robert Mintz said, “No real good can come from going on YouTube after a guilty verdict.”

A sentencing date has not been set.

Before the trial, Shkreli drew condemnation for his decision as the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals to buy a drug used by patients with AIDS and certain types of cancer and promptly raise its price from $13.50 to $750 a pill. Turing fired him.

He defended the drug price hike, saying he had a duty to maximize profits and would do it again.

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