'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli convicted of securities fraud, conspiracy

Martin Shkreli and attorney Benjamin Brafman arrive at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

He faced eight charges, but according to CNBC, was convicted of three: two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

Mr. Shkreli looked shaken as the judge read the verdict.

A securities fraud conviction has done little to silence "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli on social media, who imagined out loud a short stretch in a posh "Club Fed", to the repeat dismay of a legal team working to limit or avoid jail time for their chatty client. Under cross from the defense, he said his $1.25 million investment with Shkreli paid off, largely through an agreement in which Shkreli gave him shares in his drug company Retrophin Inc. Prosecution witness Darren Blanton said on the stand that he invested in Shkreli's hedge fund MSMB Capital after being told the fund was managing $35 million in assets and had an independent auditor, Reuters reported.

"This was a witch hunt of epic proportions", he said in NY after the verdict.

"Justice was served", she said after the verdict.

Shkreli gained notoriety and earned public ire previous year, after Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company he founded, spent $55 million for the U.S. rights to sell a life-saving medicine called Daraprim and promptly hiked the price about 5,000 per cent from $13.50 to $750 per pill (See: Turing does volte face on cutting price of drug Daraprim).

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That increase sparked outrage from USA lawmakers and patients, and earned Shkreli the nickname "Pharma bro".

The jury of five men and seven women found Shkreli, 34, guilty of misleading investors in two of his hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. Those agreements were the basis for prosecutors' claim that Shkreli conspired to steal from Retrophin.

"You may not like Martin Shkreli", Shkreli's lawyer, Ben Brafman, said in his opening statement. He also emphasized that none of Shkreli's investors lost money, a rarity in a securities fraud case.

Government prosecutors said the evidence against Shkreli was overwhelming, arguing that he told "lies upon lies" to investors for years in running a Ponzi-like scheme across multiple firms.

Christopher LaVigne, a former federal prosecutor who is now a defense lawyer at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling, said it was notable that prosecutors secured a conviction without investor losses and said it could encourage more such cases in the future.

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