American business, Martin Shkreli infamous for the smirking “Pharma Bro” vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug, has been sentenced on Friday to seven years in prison for defrauding investors in two failed hedge funds.
“The one person to blame for me being here today is me,” a choked-up Shkreli told a judge before she imposed the prison term in Brooklyn, New York, federal court.
“Not the government. There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli.”
“I took down Martin Shkreli with my disgraceful and shameful actions.”
“This is my fault. I am no victim here,” Shkreli said, before breaking down into tears as he promised not to let his lawyer Benjamin Brafman down in his efforts to contribute to society.
“Do not feel bad for me,” Shkreli told a packed courtroom that included supporters and family members, many of whom had written letters asking Judge Kiyo Matsumoto to spare him from a harsh sentence.
And he had a message for the investors he duped: “I am terribly sorry I lost your trust. … You deserve far better.”
“I was never motivated by money,” Shkreli said. “I wanted to grow my stature and my reputation.”
“I am here because of my gross, stupid and negligent mistakes I made.”
Shkreli insisted he was being persecuted by prosecutors for being outspoken and confidently predicted after his conviction that he was unlikely to be sentenced to jail.
Things abruptly changed, though, last fall after he jokingly offered his online followers a $5,000 bounty to anyone who could get a lock of Hillary Clinton’s hair. The judge revoked his bail and threw him in jail, a decision that she defended Friday.
That didn’t tame Shkreli completely. He corresponded with journalists, ridiculing the personal appearance of one female reporter who asked him for an interview.
Before sentencing him, the judge said that it was up to Congress to fix the issue of the HIV price-hike. And she spoke about how his family and friends “state, almost universally, that he is kind and misunderstood” and willing to help others in need.
She said it was clear he is a “tremendously gifted individual who has the capacity for kindness.”
She quoted from letters talking about generous acts like counseling a rape victim, teaching inmates math and chess, and funding family members.
The defense had asked the judge to consider the letters in its case for leniency, including professionals he worked with who vouched for his credentials as a self-made contributor to pharmaceutical advances.
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