Martin Shkreli

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY NETWORK

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Gets 7 Years In Prison In Securities Fraud Case

March 09, 2018 - 5:46 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A judge has sentenced Martin Shkreli, the so-called "Pharma Bro," to seven years in prison for securities fraud.

Prosecutors had sought 15 years in prison for the 34-year-old former pharmaceutical company CEO but defense lawyers argued a sentence of 18 months or less would be enough because investors in two failed hedge funds got all of their money back.

Although he's disappointed, defense attorney Benjamin Brafman said "it could have been a lot worse."

"I think it's hard to claim victory when someone like Martin Shkreli is going to jail but if you're asking me, 'Could it have been a lot worse' Absolutely. The government did not get what they wanted, we did not get what we wanted either," Brafman said outside court after the hearing. "This is a good judge who I think spent a great deal of time trying to examine the facts and all of the letters that were written on behalf of Mr. Shkreli and she made her decision and we all have to live with it."

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Brafman plans an appeal but held back on details.

Prosecutors did not speak to reporters as they left court.

“For years, Shkreli told lie after lie in order to steal his investors’ money, manipulate the stock market and enrich himself,” U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a written statement. “He will now pay the price for repeatedly violating the trust placed in him by his investors, his employees and the public."

While arguing for a lesser sentence, Brafman called a possible 15-year prison term "Draconian."

He said his client made his job more difficult because of his online outbursts, but asked the judge not to punish Shkreli for comments he made outside the court. 

Brafman also told the judge sometimes he wants to hug Shkreli and other times he wants to "punch him in the face for some of the things he's said," but said he's "an interesting man with great potential" who spends his time in a Brooklyn jail helping inmates, buying them books and teaching classes in basic math.

Follow Ethan Harp's play-by-play from court on Twitter

Brafman also asked the judge to reconsider sending Shkreli to prison saying, "With Shkreli in jail, I've seen him to do good. He can do that in a hospital, in a research lab. Because he understands what it's like to be in prison."

But prosecutors said Shkreli belongs in prison because he is a convicted criminal. They said Shrekli is "dangerous" and the public needs to be protected from him.

Shkreli was emotional as he pleaded for leniency before the judge.

"I made many mistakes managing funds, I'm not sure I recognize that person, I was never motivated by money, I wanted to grow my stature and reputation," Shkreli said.

He apologized to investors saying, "I did not act appropriately," and at times sobbed as he thanked his attorneys for support.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto ordered Shkreli to forfeit more than $7 million in assets in the case. The order would allow the government to go after his personal property.

Prosecutors said the order includes Shkreli’s one-of-a-kind Wu Tang Clan album that he bought for $2 million as well as a Picasso painting.

Shkreli is best known for raising the price of a life-saving drug as a pharmaceutical executive.