Fraud Trial Begins in NYC for ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli

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Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical entrepreneur vilified as the “pharma bro” for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, will go on trial on Monday in Brooklyn for what U.S. prosecutors called a Ponzi-like scheme at his former hedge fund and a drug company he once ran, reports Reuters. Prosecutors have accused Shkreli of lying to investors in the hedge fund and siphoning millions of dollars in assets from biopharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc to repay them. He has pleaded not guilty. The trial, which will be heard by U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn, is expected to last four to six weeks.

Shkreli, a boyish-looking 34, outraged patients and U.S. lawmakers by raising the price of anti-parisitic drug Daraprim to $750 a pill, from $13.50, in 2015, when he was chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals. The charges that led to his arrest in December 2015 are not related to Turing but focus on Shkreli’s management at Retrophin and the hedge fund MSMB Capital Management between 2009 and 2012. Prosecutors said Shkreli lied about MSMB’s finances to lure investors and concealed devastating trading losses from them. They said he paid the investors back with money stolen from Retrophin.

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