&l;p&g;&l;img class=&q;dam-image getty size-large wp-image-826435396&q; src=&q;https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/dam/imageserve/826435396/960×0.jpg?fit=scale&q; data-height=&q;640&q; data-width=&q;960&q;&g; NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 04: Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli smiles while speaking to the media in front of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York with members of his legal team after the jury issued a verdict, August 4, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
What a comedown. Two years ago, the smirking failed hedge fund manager and former pharma CEO Martin Shkreli &l;a href=&q;http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/02/martin-shkreli-pleads-the-fifth&q; target=&q;_blank&q; rel=&q;noopener noreferrer&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;laughed as he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights&l;/a&g; when testifying before Congress. It was all a joke
Today, his smirk was gone. Shkreli cried &a;mdash; &l;a href=&q;http://abcnews.go.com/US/pharma-bro-martin-shkreli-tearfully-begs-honors-mercy/story?id=53639528&q; target=&q;_blank&q; rel=&q;noopener noreferrer&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;sobbed&l;/a&g;, in some accounts &a;mdash; as he begged for &q;your honor&s;s mercy,&q; pleading for leniency from a federal court judge.
Shkreli got seven years on Friday. Mercy he had failed to show others was withheld. &q;Pharma Bro&q; had committed an unforgivable theft.
The &l;a href=&q;http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/18/news/companies/martin-shkreli/index.html&q; target=&q;_blank&q; rel=&q;noopener noreferrer&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;34-year-old son of Albanian and Croatian immigrants&l;/a&g; has had an interesting career. He was first investigated by the SEC in 2000, when he was 16, for suspiciously timely shorting of a stock. Shkreli was cleared.
Five years after receiving a business degree from Baruch College in New York in 2004, he started a hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, where he trash talked biotech stocks on social media while shorting them.
For years after, Shkreli&s;s career was in constant controversy. He &q;developed a reputation for &l;a href=&q;https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-17/retrophins-martin-shkreli-the-biotech-short-seller-who-went-long&q; target=&q;_blank&q; rel=&q;noopener noreferrer&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;using a stock-gossip website to savage biotech companies&l;/a&g; whose shares he was shorting&q; and was accused of filing FDA complaints to make a company he bet against look bad. He or his firms were sued multiple times.
The real public outrage was yet to come. Companies of his would buy long-existing drugs that were vital to people&s;s welfare and drive up the price. His first pharmaceutical company, Retrophin, acquired rights to sell Thiola, a drug that treats a rare disease. The price then shot up from $1.50 a pill to $30.
In 2015, another firm of his, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired the drug Daraprim, used to treat parasitic infections, a particular problem for people with HIV. The &l;a href=&q;http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/09/20/huge-overnight-increase-drug-price-raises-protests/DH94tAOlMzZVDIZj55Y6NP/story.html&q; target=&q;_blank&q; rel=&q;noopener noreferrer&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;price went from $13.50 a tablet to $750&l;/a&g;. Annual treatment for some patients jumped to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
People may well have gone broke, suffered, and even possibly died as a result.
As the news of his sentence broke, people across social media were delighted. They pointed to karma.
But, sorry, cruelly high drug prices not why Shkreli faces a jail cell.
Shkreli&s;s prosecution was for &l;a href=&q;http://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/martin-shkreli-sentenced-seven-years-imprisonment-multi-million-dollar-fraud-scheme&q; target=&q;_blank&q; rel=&q;noopener noreferrer&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;years of alleged securities fraud&l;/a&g;, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney&s;s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
&l;/p&g;&l;blockquote&g;&q;For years, Shkreli told lie after lie in order to steal his investors&a;rsquo; money, manipulate the stock market and enrich himself,&q; stated United States Attorney Donoghue. &q;He will now pay the price for repeatedly violating the trust placed in him by his investors, his employees and the public. It remains a priority of this Office, together with our law enforcement partners, to identify, investigate and bring to justice criminals like Shkreli.&q;&l;/blockquote&g;
You see, Shkreli committed an unforgivable sin in this country. He stole from the wealthy.
&q;The people who badly needed treatment and were forced to pay money whether they had it or not, isn&s;t that type of price gouging a form of theft?&q; you might ask.
Oh, no, that&s;s called business.