Martin Shkreli convicted of securities fraud, conspiracy

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC., listens to questions during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. Shkreli invoked his 5th Amendment right not to testify to the committee that is examining the prescription drug market. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Martin Shkreli, who gained national notoriety two years ago for jacking up the price of an AIDS drug, was convicted of securities fraud Friday for mismanaging two investment funds.

A jury in Brooklyn deliberated almost five days before returning guilty verdicts against Shkreli, 34, on two counts of securities fraud and a single count of conspiracy. He was acquitted on five other charges.

Outside court, Shkreli called his prosecution “a witch hunt of epic proportions.”

Federal prosecutors said he mismanaged money at the investment funds Elea Capital, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, as well as while he was CEO of Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company he founded in 2011.

They argued that he lied to investors at MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare about how well the funds were doing, and that he used money from Retrophin as a piggy bank to pay off MSMB investors, and to cover personal loans and other debts.

His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, framed his client as an oddball genius who ultimately made his investors richer. He said that Shkreli never intended to defraud anyone, and called him an “honest kid.”

Shkreli drew national scorn two years ago when, as the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, he unapologetically raised the price of an AIDS drug from $13.50 per pill to $750. That episode is unrelated to the fraud case.