Social media antics could affect sentencing for “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli

Last Friday, former hedge fund CEO Martin Shkreli was convicted on three counts of securities fraud.  The first two charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison.  The third carries up to 5 years.

The infamous “Pharma Bro”  became the “most hated man on America” due to, in no small part, his raising the price some 5000% for life-saving AIDS and cancer drug and his seeming depraved indifference over people’s concerns.  His online behavior was equally terrible.  He managed to get himself permanently banned from Twitter for his harassment of Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca.

Now that Shkreli is in need of some good karma, he seemingly hasn’t banked any.  With a judge weighing his sentencing, a couple of factors are rising to the top of the list.  The first is intent.  You see, even though he committed fraud, his investors actually made money.  But, the judge will have to weigh if the final outcome or if his original intent to defraud them is greater.  The second one, however, might not be so gray — Shkreli’s social media behavior.

I’ve already mentioned Twitter but, his behavior on YouTube has not endeared him to the court either.  For example, following his conviction, Shkreli posted a video proclaiming the outcome an “astounding victory” for him.  He also said, “I’m one of the richest New Yorkers there is, and after today’s outcome it’s going to stay that way.”

You see, the courts would like to see this little thing called “contrition”.  It shows that you recognize that you’ve done something wrong and have some remorse for it.  By not showing any, a judge might be less inclined to cut him a break on his sentencing.

It seems that even Shkreli’s own attorney, Benjamin Brafman, sees this as a concern and is asking that the court won’t factor it in his client’s sentencing:

“My hope is that the court will ignore the childish and compulsive tweeting of Mr. Shkreli that‎ is his right to do.”

Now, we can only wait to see if Shkreli’s social media behavior will be result in even more time behind bars for the disgraced CEO.

An opinionated technologist, JP launched Death By Social Media when he saw just how easily and how often people's misunderstanding/abuse of social media created personal catastrophes. As a result, he wanted to provide a resource that would provide cautionary tales for those seeking to avoid similar fates.