Did Martin Shkreli commit fraud? That’s now up to a jury


Business News - Opportunities - Reviews


Martin Shkreli in 86 seconds

Martin Shkreli’s fate now rests with a 12-person jury.

After a month’s worth of setup, testimony and arguments, deliberations will begin Monday in the federal government’s case against the former hedge fund manager and pharmaceutical executive.

Shkreli made a name for himself in 2015 when he unabashedly raised the price of an HIV drug from $13.50 to $750.

That’s unrelated to this trial.

Federal prosecutors say Shkreli mismanaged money at his investment funds Elea Capital, MSMB Capital Management and MSMB Healthcare, as well as while he was CEO of Retrophin (RTRX), a pharmaceutical company he founded in 2011.

They claim he lied to investors at MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare about how well the funds were doing, and that he used money from Retrophin as a piggy bank to pay off MSMB investors, and to cover personal loans and other debts.

Shkreli, who has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, faces up to 20 years in prison.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto read instructions to the jury — made up of five men and seven women — before dispatching them to decide on a verdict. The jury opted to leave early on Friday afternoon and begin its deliberations Monday morning.

Earlier in the day, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis laid out an impassioned case against Shkreli, citing what she called an “avalanche” of evidence.

“When you lie to people knowingly and intentionally to get their money, it’s a crime,” she said Friday. “And that is exactly what Martin Shkreli did. He knowingly lied over and over again to his investors.”

Related: Shkreli just kept talking during fraud trial

Kasulis asked jurors to set aside the “fairytale” version of Shkreli drawn up by his defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, who has tried to paint his client as a genius.

“Of course Mr. Shkreli is a smart man. No one is saying he’s not smart,” Kasulis said. “He knew exactly what he was doing.”

Prosecutors have said that investors were kept in the dark about where their money was tied up.

During his closing argument, Brafman said that Shkreli is a “good kid” with awkward social skills who made his investors richer in the end.

“Who lost anything? Nobody,” Brafman said Friday.

Brafman has argued that Shkreli never intended to defraud anyone. He said that Shkreli slept in a sleeping bag in his office for two years as he tried to make Retrophin a success.

“Good faith can in this case be a defense to every one of these charges,” Brafman said Thursday.

Shkreli did not testify in his own defense. But he kept up his use of social media throughout the trial, despite efforts by prosecutors and his own lawyer to keep him quiet.

“My case is a silly witch hunt perpetrated by self-serving prosecutors. Thankfully my amazing attorney sent them back to junior varsity where they belong. Drain the swamp. Drain the sewer that is the DOJ. MAGA,” he said on Facebook Thursday evening.

CNNMoney (New York) First published July 28, 2017: 4:09 PM ET


Business News - Opportunities - Reviews



Leave a Reply