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Shkreli's lawyer guilty of fraud in Ponzi scheme

By Danielle Haynes
Shkreli's lawyer guilty of fraud in Ponzi scheme
Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli exits the United States Federal courthouse after day four of deliberations in his federal securities fraud trial on August 3, 2017 in New York City. File Photo by Dennis Van Tine/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A New York jury found Evan Greebel, a former lawyer for companies run by Martin Shkreli, guilty Wednesday of scheming with the pharmaceutical executive to commit fraud.

The jury in a federal court in Brooklyn said Greebel was guilty of committing wire fraud and securities fraud. Shkreli, found guilty of securities fraud in August, hired Greebel as outside counsel for his biotechnology company Retrophin, Inc., in order to craft a Ponzi scheme between 2009 and 2014 in which he bilked investors of $11 million.

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Shkreli illegally took stock from Retrophin and used it to pay off debts from a failed hedge fund -- which is illegal. The Retrophin board of directors later sued Shkreli and he was ousted from the company for which he served as CEO.

Greebel's lawyer, Reed Brodsky, blamed Shkreli's personality for the verdict.

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"We're just shocked by the decision," Brodsky said.

Shkreli came under scrutiny in 2015 for hiking the price of the drug Daraprim, often used to treat toxoplasmosis in people with compromised immune systems like AIDS patients, by 5,000 percent. Shkreli said the drug was unprofitable under its former price and said the profits would be used for pharmaceutical research.

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The company that made Daraprim, Turing Pharmaceuticals, reduced the price in the wake days later in the wake of outrage.

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Regardless, Shkreli has turned heads with antics since then, purchasing the only copy of a Wu Tang Clan album and promising never to let anyone hear it, getting into an online altercation with a news reporter, and violating a gag order and causing a judge to chastise him.

"Shkreli himself is so toxic that it's hard to, in today's environment, get justice," Brodsky said.

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