“Pharma Bro” Will Stay in Prison
Martin Shkreli has lost his bid to overturn a seven-year prison sentence year for fraud and will remain incarcerated. The eccentric former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals – who called himself “Pharma Bro” on social media – gained notoriety by hiking the price of Daraprim, a then 62-year-old drug used to treat toxoplasmosis, by $13.50 to $750 per pill.
By a 3-0 vote, a US court of appeals last week upheld the now 36-year-old’s August 2017 conviction on three out of eight fraud charges unrelated to the price gouging. The judges affirmed that he must forfeit more than $7.3 million, pay restitution of $388,336 and a $75,000 fine for cheating investors in two failed hedge funds as well as another drug company Retrophin, which he formerly ran.
In Shkreli's appeal on the fraud charges, the defense team argued that the judge had confused the jury by being inconsistent in the wording of the instructions. The complaint centered on the convicting judge's inclusion of a "no ultimate harm" (NUH) instruction to the jury.
During the appeals hearing late last month, the defense team asserted that such an instruction was inappropriate for a securities fraud case and that the judge also wasn't consistent in the wording of the instructions.
The US Attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York countered that the NUH instruction is meant to prevent the "legally improper" defense that because the fraudster believed everything would all work out, he or she could not have been lying.
Shkreli at the time called the trial “a witch hunt of epic proportions.” In a YouTube live stream, he told viewers: “The punishments are going to be close to nil.”