Martin Shkreli airs investment advice


NEW YORK Martin Shkreli is on trial for financial fraud charges that could land him in prison for years, but that hasn’t stopped the so-called “Pharmacy Bro” from providing investment advice for thousands of fans.

During recent Sunday evenings, Shkreli has used Facebook and YouTube to live-stream “This Week in Investing and Finance,” atutorial that featureshis views on stocks to buy, sell, or short, plus health care industry news, and a quick look at the economy.


Before and afterward, viewers who tune in forthe live-streams also get a healthydose of the pharmaceutical industry entrepreneur’s views on the criminal case Brooklyn federal prosecutors have built against him.

Unsurprising spoiler alert: Shkreli says he’s winning.

“I met with my lawyers today, and they say I am innocent and will be proven innocent. The case is going very well,” said Shkreli during aJuly 2 live-stream that had drawn more than 4,800views on YouTube through t he ensuing five days.

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Martin Shkreli is the former CEO of the biotech firm Retrophin as well as the founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG. He's currently involved in a five-to-six week trial for being accused of defrauding investors of two hedge funds. Newslook

“We’ve got the prosecutors pretty freaked out,” added Shkreli, a 34-year-old Manhattan resident who hosted the event in a V-neck T-shirt and shorts, while periodically playing with his hair. “The case is falling apart before their eyes, and they don’t know how it’s happening. Sad.”


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Martin Shkreli ordered to stop talking about trial around courthouse

Acting on a motion by the prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto tugged thelegal reins Wednesday on Shkreli. She ordered him to stop discussing the case in and around the Brooklyn courthouse where his comments could taint the jury and potentially cause a mistrial. But the ruling was silent on the social media devotee’s Internet usage.


Shkreli won nationalnotoriety and support for imposing a 5,000% price hike on Daraprim, a Turing Pharmaceuticals medication used to treat those with the HIV virus that causes AIDS and others with weakened immune systems.

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Martin Shkreli criticized by potential jurors as his criminal trial opens


However, the eight-count conspiracy and fraud indictment against Shkreli instead focuses on allegationshescammedinvestors in two health care-focused hedge funds he co-founded and previously headed. He’s also accused of defrauding Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company he previously served as thechief executive officer,by improperly reimbursing the hedge fund investors with Retrophin stock and payments.

“I am innocent,” Shkreli declared during his July 2 live-stream.

Another defendant might let that be the last word, recognizing the potential irony of touting investor advice during a criminal trial basedon alleged fraudulent financial transactions.


But Shkreli is not any other defendant. During the live-stream, he went on to trash AnGes, a Japan-based biopharmaceutical company Shkreli said he might sell short, byplacinga financial bet that the value of the firm’s shares would fall.

“I know they keep trying to get their drug approved, but it doesn’t work,” he said.

Neurotrope Bioscience, a New York-based company developing treatments forneurodegenerative diseases and developmental disorders, also drew a withering rating from Shkreli. He namedthe company’s stock ashis top short bet, noting that the shares plummetedin May after Neurotropeannounced what it billed as positive results of a clinical trial fora developmental drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease.


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Don't believe all of Martin Shkreli's social media posts, his lawyer says

A few health care stocks got the Shkreli seal of approval.

One was Alexion, theNew Haven, Conn.-based company that in June announced that itsdrug tested for treating patients with myasthenia gravis, a chronicautoimmune neuromuscular disorder, had drawn a positive regulatory opinion from aEuropean Union panel.


It’s “a great long,” meaning a stock to buy and hold, said Shkreli, who predicted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration couldaward similar approval.

However, four days after Shkreli’s recommendation, Alexion shares fell 3.2% following a Bloomberg News report that the company is under investigation by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Alexion said the health agency is working with federal prosecutors in Massachusetts, whose investigative subpoena the company disclosed in January, Investor’s Business Daily reported.


Shkreli acknowledged that he’s made some incorrect calls. He told viewers during the recent live-stream that he’d advised someone named Soulja Boy to “go long on crude,” meaning invest in oil stocks.

It was unclear whether Shkreli referred to the well-known rapper Soulja Boy, whose representative did not respond to a Friday email seeking comment.

“It’s been a bad call,” Shkreli said, conceding that investors have sent oil stocks lower. “Soulja Boy will never invest with me again, but that’s life.”

Nonetheless, Shkreli said his portfolio of 30 stocks has a win-loss ratio of 83%, and suffered just its first weekly loss during the five trading sessions that preceded the recent live-stream.

“It won’t last forever,” but “I’m very proud of that,” he said of the high success rate, adding that he has become “a better trader” over time.

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Martin Shkreli called 'genius' and 'liar' as trial starts

Shkreli voiced similar optimism about his trial, which has limited his investment research during daytime hours.

“I spent most of the week out of the markets. I have a big thing I’m doing, you may know,” he said of the court proceeding which started with opening legal statements June 28 and wasprojected to last up to six weeks.

“But I’ll be back watching the markets regularly in a few weeks, during the day,” said Shkreli.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc