US jury deliberates in 'Pharma Bro' Shkreli fraud trial

A US jury was deliberating Monday on whether to convict Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and pharmaceutical executive once dubbed "The Most Hated Man in America" of securities fraud.

Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli stands accused of an eight-count indictment for allegedly stealing $11 million in stock from his first pharmaceutical company Retrophin to pay off investors who lost money in two of his hedge funds
Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli stands accused of an eight-count indictment for allegedly stealing $11 million in stock from his first pharmaceutical company Retrophin to pay off investors who lost money in two of his hedge funds (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP)

A US jury was deliberating Monday on whether to convict Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and pharmaceutical executive once dubbed "The Most Hated Man in America" of securities fraud.

The 34-year-old, who is best known for jacking up the price of HIV drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750 overnight in 2015, risks up to 20 years in prison if found guilty following a month-long trial.

He stands accused of an eight-count indictment for allegedly stealing $11 million in stock from his first pharmaceutical company Retrophin to pay off investors who lost money in two of his hedge funds.

The 12-member jury began deliberations at a federal court in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, an official in the prosecutor's office told AFP. They were instructed by the judge on Friday after closing arguments from the defense and prosecution.

Government attorneys said the evidence against Shkreli was overwhelming, arguing that he told "lies upon lies" to investors for years in running a Ponzi-like scheme across multiple firms.

Shkreli declined to testify. His defense lawyer portrayed him as a troubled genius who camped out in his office in a sleeping bag for two years to build single handedly a successful pharmaceutical to ultimately repay wealthy investors.

Shkreli is charged with securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy for orchestrating three inter-related schemes to defraud investors and misappropriate assets.

While his hiking of Daraprim has nothing to do the criminal charges against him, his notoriety was such that the trial was initially delayed over difficulties in finding an impartial jury.