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The Infamous ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli Will Serve 7 Years In Prison

Infamous “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors in his hedge fund and manipulating shares in Retrophin, Inc, a biotech company he founded, reports the LA Times.

This sentencing has nothing to do with his other, arguably more widely infuriating transgressions such as jacking up the price of a life-saving anti-infection drug 5,000%. (That drug is vital for people with compromised immune systems; especially those who are HIV positive.) He showed absolutely no remorse or sympathy for doing so at the time in 2015, stating his main concern was for investors and company profit, and that was why he’d driven up the price so ludicrously high.

 

The 34-year-old was convicted in August last year. The prosecutors on the case wanted to put him away for 15 years for the securities fraud. Shkreli, who has time and time again proved he cares only for himself and the money he made, asked that he be sentenced to only a year in prison.

Shkreli has been a famously annoying and infuriating thorn in the side of most of the world, and especially in Washington, on Wall Street, in the media and in the medical community for years. His cavalier and cold attitude to those he harmed through his actions has been a particularly large source of anger for many.

The case against him didn’t include the drug prices he caused to go sky high, but the judge who sentenced him, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, read several letters during Friday’s sentencing from people who had commentary to make on Shkreli’s fate. One of these notes was from a doctor who said he “lost a patient to septic shock” because he did not have access to the Daraprim, which is the anti-infection drug mentioned before. Matsumoto, after reading the letter announced to the court such problems with drug pricing and availability needed to be addressed and resolved by Congress.

Shkreli showed remorse at his sentencing, tearing up before saying, “This is my fault. I am terribly sorry I lost your trust. You deserved far better.”

The prosecutors sought a heavier sentence for Shkreli because of the “staggering number of lies” he told his investors, making more than $40 million from those lies. He and his lawyers thought differently, claiming that he had learned his lesson and even blaming what he had done on “demons” that had haunted him. They sought a far lighter sentence.

When handing down the sentence, Matsumoto made sure to make it clear that this case was not about “Mr. Shkreli’s self-cultivated persona” but rather about his “extremely serious” actions that hurt a number of people and investors.

This sentencing marks the end of what originally looked like a promising career, but he’s been under scrutiny for his ethics since he was 19. Part of his sentence mandates that he must surrender all of the $7.4 million in profits that he gained from his crimes. If he doesn’t have all that money, then he must sell any of his assets – such as a Picasso, $5 million in a personal trading account and a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album – in order to make up the difference.

Despite what he once said, as it turns out, you can indeed “quell the Shkrel.”

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Emily Gray

Minnesota

Emily Gray is a native Wisconsinite and is currently a junior at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities pursuing a major in Journalism, and minors in both Spanish Studies and the Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance. She writes for Her Campus as a news blogger, and when she's not writing, she enjoys finding prime reading spots on campus and delighting in spotting dogs on campus.
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