Shkreli boasts in on­line video af­ter fraud con­vic­tion

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - TOM HAYS In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Karen Matthews of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

NEW YORK — Less than an hour af­ter a U.S. jury con­victed Martin Shkreli of se­cu­ri­ties fraud, the so-called Pharma Bro was back at his New York City apart­ment trash talk­ing in a livestream on YouTube.

The brash former phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal CEO, who’s still out on bail, joked he won’t be go­ing to a hard-core prison — “No shanks” — and pre­dicted his ac­quit­tal on some charges Fri­day will help him re­cover tens of mil­lions of dol­lars he claims he’s owed from a drug com­pany he started.

“It doesn’t seem like life will change much for Martin Shkreli,” he said while drink­ing a beer and play­ing with his cat. “I’m one of the rich­est New York­ers there is, and af­ter to­day’s out­come, it’s go­ing to stay that way.”

Shkreli’s trolling of his own trial has amused some on­look­ers. But le­gal ex­perts say it could have se­ri­ous con­se­quences when it comes time for sen­tenc­ing.

“No real good can come from go­ing on YouTube af­ter a guilty ver­dict,” said Robert Mintz, a former fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor now in pri­vate prac­tice. “This is ex­actly the kind of be­hav­ior that got him in trou­ble in the first place.”

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Mat­sumoto likely will fac­tor in any lack of re­morse and con­tri­tion at sen­tenc­ing in fed­eral court in Brook­lyn, said Matthew Schwartz, a de­fense lawyer and former fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor who once worked for a Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion task force.

“Go­ing into the trial, he had an au­di­ence of 12. Now he’s got an au­di­ence of one,” Schwartz said, re­fer­ring to the jury and judge. “He’s putting him­self at great risk for a higher sen­tence.”

The 34-year-old de­fen­dant faces up to 20 years in prison for his con­vic­tion on the most se­ri­ous counts, though the term could be much lower un­der sen­tenc­ing guide­lines. Shkreli’s lawyer, Ben Braf­man, said he will ar­gue for no jail time. No sen­tenc­ing date was set.

Shkreli was ar­rested in 2015 on charges he looted a drug com­pany he founded, Retrophin, of $11 mil­lion in stock and cash to pay back in­vestors in two failed hedge funds he ran. In­vestors took the wit­ness stand to ac­cuse him of keep­ing them in the dark as his scheme un­folded, while the de­fense ar­gued there wasn’t any harm done be­cause all of them got rich off of Retrophin stock.

Be­fore his ar­rest, Shkreli was best known for buy­ing the rights to a life-sav­ing drug at an­other com­pany and promptly rais­ing the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He also had a rep­u­ta­tion for at­tack­ing crit­ics on so­cial me­dia and was barred from Twit­ter for posts about a fe­male jour­nal­ist.

Even dur­ing his trial, when most crim­i­nal de­fen­dants would lay low, Shkreli stayed on­line com­ment­ing about his own case.

Af­ter the ver­dict, Braf­man once again raised hopes he could rein in his client.

“There is an im­age is­sue that Martin and I are go­ing to be dis­cussing in the next sev­eral days. Martin is a bril­liant young man, but some­times peo­ple skills don’t trans­late well,” he said.

Not much later, Shkreli was on YouTube, an­swer­ing ques­tions about the case and crack­ing jokes. Dur­ing his lengthy livestream, he in­vited one re­porter up to his apart­ment to ask her ques­tions on cam­era.

“Ben prob­a­bly wants me to act and look like your av­er­age CEO, but I’m a very in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic per­son and I don’t sort of con­form to what folks want me to do and not want me to do, and that’s what be­ing an in­di­vid­ual is all about,” he said. “As long as it doesn’t in­ter­fere with the le­gal case, it’s my life to live.”

With­out more con­form­ity, Shkreli’s lawyer will have his work cut out for him try­ing to con­vince the court that he should be cut some slack as “some­one who is not en­tirely nor­mal,” said Schwartz, the former pros­e­cu­tor. “Whether the judge will buy it or not is an­other ques­tion.”

The judge’s last words to the de­fen­dant as she left the bench of­fered no clues.

“I wish you well, Mr. Shkreli,” she said. “See you soon.”

AP/SETH WENIG

Martin Shkreli (left) talks with re­porters Fri­day while stand­ing next to his at­tor­ney Ben­jamin Braf­man af­ter leav­ing fed­eral court in New York.

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