'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli sentenced to 7 years for fraud

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The smirk wiped off his face, a crying Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud Friday in a hard fall for the pharmaceutical-industry bad boy vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug.

Martin Shrkeli, the self-promoting pharmaceutical executive notorious for trolling critics online, was convicted in a securities fraud case past year unconnected to the price increase dispute.

Appearing at the hearing in Brooklyn, New York, Shkreli, 34, also known as "Pharma Bro", attempted to convince the judge he had changed, and got choked up at one point, The Australian reports.

His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said, "There are times when I want to hug him and then when I want to punch him".

"I am terribly sorry I lost your trust", he reportedly said in the court. "You deserve far better". Shkreli insisted it was a joke.

"This case is not about Mr Shkreli's self-cultivated public persona. nor his controversial statements about politics or culture", the judge said, calling his crimes serious. He was also fined $75,000.

The judge ruled earlier that Shkreli would have to forfeit more than $7.3 million in a brokerage account and personal assets, including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that he boasted of buying for $2 million.

The judge said the property would not be seized until Shkreli had a chance to appeal.

The sentence, which was less than half what the government asked for but more than the 18 months requested by the defense, came after Shkreli sobbed and begged the NY court for "your honor's mercy". He said profits will be used to improve the drug. Donate or give monthly.

"He wants everyone to believe he is a genius, a whizz kid, a self-taught biotech wonder", said prosecutor Jacquelyn Kasulis. "I am here because of my gross, stupid and negligent mistakes I made", said Shkreli, sitting at the defense table. "He can't be just an average person who fails". "I took down Shkreli with my disgraceful and shameful actions".

The former hedge-fund manager and pharmaceutical business investor originally made infamous headlines for raising the price of the HIV/AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750.

He was tight-lipped when faced with a barrage of questions about the price hike from members of Congress a couple of months later, citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. Afterward, he tweeted that the lawmakers were "imbeciles". His bail was revoked after he offered social-media followers $5,000 for bringing US-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's hair.

That did not tame Shkreli completely. And she noted that Shkreli's family and friends "state, nearly universally, that he is kind and misunderstood" and willing to help others in need.

In a letter sent last week to the judge, Shkreli pleaded for leniency and for the first time admitted he had erred.

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