Martin Shkreli, otherwise known as Pharma Bro for his notorious stint as a pharmaceuticals CEO, allegedly lied about his status as an Ivy League graduate to investors in order to bilk them out of cash, federal prosecutors contended this week.
Whereas Shkreli obtained a degree from Baruch College, he reportedly told well-heeled investors that he had actually graduated from Columbia University, a move that prosecutors claim was intended to play up his credentials, the New York Daily News reported.
They even went to Columbia to seek records of Shkreli’s enrollment, where they were informed by associate vice president and university registrar Barry Kane that no such records existed.
In response to the allegations, Shkreli’s defense claimed that Pharma Bro had sat in on a calculus class during the 2000 fall semester and 2001 spring semester. University officials conceded that there was no way of knowing whether Shkreli attended those classes as claimed.
The prosecution also secured the testimony of John Neill, a Dallas-based investor who recalled another investor telling him that Shkreli graduated from Columbia. He produced an email from Shkreli in which Pharma Bro claimed to have taken courses at the Ivy League school, adding that he was a “serious troublemaker but a good test taker” in high school.
On Wednesday, Shkreli’s trial was temporarily put on hold after the defense objected to the prosecution’s plans to show jurors incriminating documents without calling witnesses to back them up. The documents reportedly shed light on payments that Shkreli made from his drug company in order to cover up his mishandling of investors’ money.
Jurors were sent home on Wednesday and Thursday while lawyers on both sides prepare legal briefs arguing whether witnesses should be present when the documents are shown. Testimony will likely resume on Friday.