Fraud Trial Of "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli Begins

Shkreli's lawyer says he "is really a special kid who could cure cancer if left alone."

By Eric Shorey

Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive and internet troll who gained infamy after hiking up the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, is heading to court on fraud charges, according to CNN. Despite the virality of the original story, the charges have nothing to do with the notorious Daraprim incident and are related to accusations of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy from incidents that occurred between 2009 and 2014.

Shkreli stands accused of cheating investors out of more than $11 million in what is being described by federal prosecutors as a "Ponzi scheme." He is also being accused of mishandling funds at various companies including Elea Capital, MSMB Capital, MSMB Healthcare, and Retrophin. Prosecutors say Shkreli lied about the performance of assets and used money gained in one company to pay off personal debts and investors in another.

At a hearing last Monday, prosecutors refused to reduce Shkreli's bail by $3 million, citing his frequent boasting about his wealth on social media, according to Reuters. Shkreli regularly brags about his finances on his various livestreams, although his actual net worth is unkown. His behavior online has gotten him suspended from Twitter and Periscope after he harassed a Teen Vogue writer for vocally opposing Donald Trump.

Shkreli is pleading not guilty and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. His lawyer argues that he "is really a special kid who could cure cancer if left alone."

[Photo: Getty Images]

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