A New York lawyer who advised pharmaceutical businessman Martin Shkreli may be heading to prison after a federal jury convicted him of helping his client to defraud shareholders to pay back previously defrauded investors.
Evan Greebel, who served as outside counsel to Retrophin Inc., the biopharmaceutical company formerly run by Shkreli, was convicted Wednesday on two conspiracy charges to commit securities fraud and wire fraud. The jury found Greebel guilty on both counts after three days of deliberations.
According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Greebel conspired with Shkreli from 2011 and 2014 to steal millions of dollars from Retrophin in order to pay off defrauded investors in two failed hedge funds run by Shkreli, MSMB Capital Management LP and MSMB Healthcare Management LP.
The jury was presented with evidence that Greebel negotiated “settlement” agreements with the defrauded MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare investors. Retrophin reimbursed the investors with more than $2 million in cash and stock for their lost investments, even though the company had nothing to do with their losses.
Prosecutors also presented evidence that Greebel had arranged for certain investors to enter into sham consulting agreements with Retrophin as a way to pay them back.
According to the 2015 indictment, Retrophin did not receive “any legitimate consulting services based on these sham agreements,” but the company paid the defrauded investors more than $7.6 million in cash and stock for their consulting services.
In total, Shkreli and Greebel caused Retrophin and its investors to lose more than $11 million through their settlement and sham consulting agreements, according to the indictment.
The jury was also presented with evidence that Greebel and Shkreli attempted to illegally control the price and trading volume of Retrophin’s stock by concealing the fact that Shkreli controlled the majority of Retrophin’s free-trading shares. Prosecutors presented evidence that Greebel used his law license and training to file false documents with government regulators to hide the fact that Shkreli controlled those shares.
“While it’s become increasingly more evident that Greebel exploited his knowledge of the law in his efforts to break the law, today we finally see justice served in a case that’s spent no shortage of its time in the spotlight,” William Sweeney, the FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge of the investigation, said in a statement.
Greebel faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced. According to the United States Sentencing Commission, the average sentence length for those convicted of securities and investment fraud was under five years.
“We are shocked by the verdict,” Brodsky said, according to Reuters. “We will continue to fight for justice for Evan Greebel and his family.”
Months ahead of the trial, Greebel’s lawyers sought to distance their client from Shkreli, who was dubbed “the most hated man in America” after his company raised the price of a life-saving drug used by cancer and HIV patients by 5,500 percent from $13.50 a pill to $750.
Shkreli was previously convicted of securities fraud and securities fraud conspiracy in August. He is currently awaiting sentencing in jail after having his bail revoked over a Facebook post in which he offered $5,000 for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair.