Martin Shkreli, the embattled pharmaceutical CEO, appeared in court Friday as a judge weighs whether he has to forfeit more than $7.3 million – including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album – for his securities fraud conviction.
The so-called “Pharma Bro” was convicted in September on charges that he deceived investors through failed hedge funds. Weeks later, he had his $5 million bail revoked when he posted what was a considered a threat to Hillary Clinton.
The 34-year-old, who is probably best known for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug, was charged with securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud; a jury found him guilty on three of eight counts.
“Under the circumstances, I think he’s doing remarkably well,” Shkreli’s attorney, Ben Brafman, told reporters outside the Brooklyn jail Friday.
His sentencing is set for March 9.
From his social media presence to his leadership of pharmaceutical companies, here’s a look at Shkreli’s life and controversies.
Shkreli’s bail was revoked and he was sent to prison the night of Sept. 13 because of what was perceived as a threat to a former presidential nominee he posted on social media.
Shkreli offered on Facebook $5,000 to anyone who could grab Hillary Clinton’s hair while she was on her book tour. U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said the post could be seen as a “solicitation of an assault” as she revoked his $5 million bail.
“The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on HRC’s book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must confirm the sequences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton,” his post said.
Shkreli’s defense argued that the post was simply political satire, but the judge didn’t buy it.
The government told the judge that the message alarmed the Secret Service detail that protects Clinton, a former Democratic presidential candidate and first lady. It also argued that it fit a pattern of veiled threats against female journalists who rebuffed Shkreli’s social media advances and of taunts aimed at prosecutors in his case.
Shkreli will now await his sentencing at a federal jail in Brooklyn instead of his Manhattan apartment where he would often live stream parts of his day. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years.
A Brooklyn jury found Shkreli guilty on three counts on August 4.
The jury deliberated for five days before reaching a verdict.
Shkreli’s trial began on June 26, and he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Several potential jurors told the New York judge they couldn’t be fair toward Shkreli.
Shkreli “travels to the beat of a very unique drummer.”
One woman said that she knew the former executive as “the most hated man in America” for his price gouging. The judge dismissed her and several other potential jurors after they made negative comments about Shkreli during jury selection.
Despite advice from his lawyers, Shkreli didn’t lay low ahead of the trial. He was active on social media, particularly on YouTube and Facebook.
Shkreli “travels to the beat of a very unique drummer,” his defense attorney said.
Brooklyn U.S. District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto ruled that Shkreli and his former lawyer be granted separate trials.
Both Evan Greebel and Shkreli requested separate trials and both have pleaded not guilty. Greebel is charged with one count of conspiracy for allegedly helping Shkreli. He would later be found guilty of conspiring to commit securities fraud and wire fraud.
As Greebel has called Shkreli a serial liar, Matsumoto said trying the two men together “would present a serious risk that Shkreli will not receive a constitutionally fair trial.”
After consistently harassing a female journalist on Twitter, Shkreli was eventually banned from the social media site.
Shkreli changed his Twitter page background to images of freelance journalist Lauren Duca and photo-shopped himself over her husband in one photo.
“How is this allowed,” Duca tweeted along with a screenshot of Shkreli’s account.
However, Shkreli made additional accounts since his ban.
After Hillary Clinton left a 9/11 memorial service due to illness, Shkreli tracked down the presidential candidate to shout at her a question.
“Why are you so sick?” Shkreli shouted at Clinton as she left her daughter’s apartment.
“I enjoyed screaming ‘why are you so sick’ and ‘go trump’ at @HillaryClinton. Get well soon bae!” he tweeted later.
This same month, Shkreli raffled off a chance to punch him in the face.
Shkreli refused to testify in front of Congress — instead invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination while smirking at lawmakers who peppered him with questions about why he so drastically raised the price of Daraprim.
“Drug company executives are lining their pockets at the expense of some of the most vulnerable families in our nation,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said during the hearing. “It’s not funny, Mr. Shkreli. People are dying and they’re getting sicker and sicker.”
“It’s not funny, Mr. Shkreli. People are dying and they’re getting sicker and sicker.”
Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., a pharmacist, said he was “disgusted” by price-hiking drug companies.
Shkreli was arrested on securities fraud and wire fraud charges — unrelated to the rising drug price while he headed Turing Pharmaceuticals — in December 2015.
Prosecutors said when Shkreli ran a different pharmaceutical company, Retrophin, he would use the company’s cash and stock to pay back hedge fund investors for money that Shkreli lost. These actions allegedly took place between 2009 and 2014, according to court documents.
Shkreli “engaged in multiple schemes to ensnare investors through a web of lies and deceit,” U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said at the time of Shkreli’s arrest.
Shkreli was released on a $5 million bail.
The day of his arrest, KaloBios Pharmaceuticals terminated Shkreli as its CEO. The company announced that the young pharmaceutical executive also had resigned from its board of directors.
Shkreli first became a contentious household name at the end of 2015 when he was chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals.
His company drastically jacked up the price of a potentially lifesaving drug, Daraprim, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Turing acquired Daraprim in August 2015.
The drug is the only approved treatment for toxoplasmosis, an infection which is especially risky for pregnant women, people with AIDS and cancer patients.
Shkreli defended the price hike, saying it was necessary in order for his pharmaceutical company to make a profit, spend money on research and keep up with operational costs.
“If there was a company that was selling an Aston Martin at the price of a bicycle, and we buy that company and we ask to charge Toyota prices, I don’t think that should be a crime,” Shkreli told CBS This Morning.
Then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton encouraged Shkreli to “do the right thing” and lower the cost of the drug to its original price.
Clinton also promised to hold accountable anyone who is “price gouging American families and jacking up costs for no good reason.”
Donald Trump, also a candidate at the time, called Shkreli a “spoiled brat.”