Is Martin Shkreli “the most hated man in America” because he is a misunderstood man who increased the price of an HIV drug, or because he intentionally deceived investors and ran his companies like Ponzi schemes? These are essentially the questions jurors in a Brooklyn, New York federal court are deciding this week after hearing closing arguments on Monday.
The 34 year old entrepreneur is accused of securities fraud unrelated to the infamous 2015 price hike of Daraprim, a life-saving AIDS medication. Shkreli was arrested in December 2015 after accusations surfaced about him misleading investors about the size of the hedge funds he managed, as well as their financial health.
Prosecutors accused Shkreli of using the funds as if they were his own, using them to pay off personal debts as well as other investors who had lost money. Shkreli’s legal team claimed that their client was merely a target because of his notoriety since he reportedly made his investors rich.
If jurors find him guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Securities fraud cases are not easy for prosecutors to prove. This is particularly because of they must prove that the defendant of “willfully” made an untrue statement or failed to disclose a material fact that made such a statement misleading. Of course, a securities fraud defendant will not readily admit to wrongdoing, and many times problems arise that are beyond the defendant’s control will morph into criminal charges if people lose enough money.
If you have been charged with a white collar crime or are under investigation by state or federal authorities, an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you.