By David Vandygriff
Martin Shkreli, the fast-playing wheeler and dealer who came to the nation's attention after exponentially hiking the price of a drug used by cancer and HIV/AIDS patients has just been convicted in his Federal fraud case.
CNBC reports Shkreli, a former pharmaceuticals entrepreneur, was found guilty by a jury of "conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and two counts of securities fraud." He was not found guilty of five other charges, including conspiracy and wire fraud. He "faces years in prison when sentenced."
Prosecutors said a mountain of testimony and evidence at trial showed that Shkreli duped multiple investors into putting millions of dollars into two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, by falsely claiming to have an excellent record of running such funds, and by falsely stating his investment strategy had a low level of risk.
After getting their money, prosecutor said, Shkreli quickly lost much of it, and also used some of it to capitalize his infant pharmaceuticals company, Retrophin, even as he continued sending out financial statements to investors claiming positive returns.
Americans were outraged when Shkreli jacked up the price of Daraprim by 5000%. The drugs had been selling at $13.50 a tablet, but Shkreli raised the price of a single tablet to $750. A full course of treatment at that price would be $75,000.
Shkreli's prosecution was not related to price gouging.