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Prosecutors Ask for 15 Years in Prison for Ex-Pharmaceutical Chief

(VOA): Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to sentence ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli to a stiff 15 years in prison for investment fraud. U.S. attorneys say Shkreli, who hiked the price of the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent, has shown no genuine remorse for his crime. Shkreli is “a man who has consistently chosen to put profit and the cultivation of a public image before all else, and a man who believes the end always justify the means,” the attorneys said. In a letter to the court, Shkreli expressed contrition. “I was wrong. I was a fool. I should have known better,” he said. His lawyers are asking for a relatively light sentence of no more than 18 months, calling Shkreli a “misunderstood eccentric.” Shkreli is set to be sentenced Friday by Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, who has already ordered Shkreli to forfeit $7.3 million in assets. Along with cash, Shkreli was ordered to relinquish the only copy of an album recorded by the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, which he claims he bought at auction for $2 million. He was also ordered to surrender a Picasso painting and other valuables. Shkreli was found guilty in August of defrauding investors by lying about the performance of two hedge funds he ran. Hedge funds are complicated high-risk funds that can result in huge financial returns or huge losses.  Shkreli’s lawyers argued that investors actually made money when he paid them off in drug company stocks. Matsumoto revoked Shkreli’s bail in September when Shkreli offered $5,000 to anyone who could produce a lock of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's hair. Shkreli earned the nickname “Pharma-Bro” for hiking the price of the medication and for sarcastic remarks and courtroom antics during his trial.

(This story has not been edited by N24 staff and is Voice Of America auto-generated from a RSS feed)

Published Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2018 | 12:45 AM

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