The much reviled ex-CEO Martin Shkreli has now been convicted of three counts of fraud.
Business Insider reports that the former pharmaceuticals CEO has just been convicted Friday on three of eight counts of fraud – two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Despite facing up to 20 years in prison the “pharma bro” was seemingly pleased with the results of the case. This is likely due to the fact that one of the five charges that he was not convicted of was related to actions undertaken while working for the drug company Retrophin rather than as a hedge fund manager.
“This was a witch hunt of epic proportions. Maybe they found one or two broomsticks, but at the end of the day we’ve been acquitted of the most important charges in this case, and I’m delighted to report that.”
These statements come directly from Shkreli at a press conference following the jury’s verdict, despite the fact that the charges against him were not baseless and thus would not constitute the traditional definition of a witch hunt. Additionally, prior to the trial, the former CEO had bragged that he was “so innocent” that jury and prosecutors alike would need to apologize to him after the case concluded.
Shkreli first came to public attention in 2015 as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. His decision to increase the price of the drug Daraprim by more than 5000% drew massive outcry from the public. Pyrimethamine, the chemical compound which makes up Daraprim, is used across the world to treat infectious diseases like malaria as well as parasitic infections.
In 2015, even though the drug is classified as part of the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the United States did not manufacture a generic form of Daraprim despite the low cost to do so. The price raise by Shkreli’s company increased the cost of a full course of treatment with the drug to $75,000 (approximately $750 per tablet), endangering or killing numerous individuals around the country who could not afford treatment.
Despite his reputation as a shrewd businessman, Shkreli’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, argued that this should not factor into the case as the charges do not relate to his time as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Unrelated to the price hike, the charges Shkreli has actually been convicted of relate to a 2009 incident in which he had lost money on two hedge funds he managed and hid that fact from investors by paying out the difference using profit he earned from Retrophin.
Shkreli has yet to be sentenced at the time of this article.