NEW YORK – The smirk wiped off his face, a crying Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud Friday in a hard fall for the pharmaceutical-industry bad boy vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug.
Shkreli, the boyish-looking, 34-year-old entrepreneur dubbed the “Pharma Bro” for his loutish behavior, was handed his punishment after a hearing in which he and his attorney struggled with limited success to make him a sympathetic figure. His own lawyer confessed to wanting to punch him in the face sometimes.
The defendant hung his head and choked up as he admitted to many mistakes and apologized to the investors he was convicted of defrauding. At one point, a clerk handed him a box of tissues.
“I’m not the same person I was,” Shkreli said.
“I know right from wrong. I know what it means to tell the truth and what it means to lie.”
He also said: “The only person to blame for me being here today is me. There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli. I took down Martin Shkreli.”
In the end, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto gave him a sentence that fell well short of the 15 years prosecutors wanted but was a lot longer than the 18 months his lawyer asked for. He was also fined $75,000.
Shkreli was found guilty in August of lying to investors in two failed hedge funds and cheating them out of millions. The case was unrelated to the 2015 furor in which he was accused of price-gouging, but his arrest was seen as rough justice by the many enemies he made with his smug and abrasive behavior online and off.
The judge insisted that the punishment was not about Shkreli’s online antics or his raising the cost of the drug.
“This case is not about Mr. Shkreli’s self-cultivated public persona … nor his controversial statements about politics or culture,” Matsumoto said.
But she did say his conduct after the verdict made her doubt the sincerity of his remorse. She cited his bragging after the verdict that he would be sentenced to time served. And she quoted one piece of correspondence in which he wrote: “F— the feds.”