US asks judge to approve seizure of Pharma Bro's assets

This courtroom sketch shows former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli, left, seated next to his lawyer Ben Brafman in federal court, Friday Feb. 23, 2018 in New York. "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli has appeared in court for the first time since a judge locked him up for his online antics. He heard the government argue Friday that he's on the hook for more than $7 million for his securities fraud conviction. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2017 file photo, Martin Shkreli is interviewed by Maria Bartiromo during her "Mornings with Maria Bartiromo" program on the Fox Business Network, in New York. "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli is due back in court for a hearing about whether he should forfeit millions of dollars in assets including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album as part of his conviction in a securities fraud scheme. The hearing is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in federal court in Brooklyn. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK — "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli appeared in court Friday for the first time since a judge locked him up for his online antics, and the brash former pharmaceutical CEO had a new look since his bail was revoked in September: a scruffy beard that made his appearance less boyish.

He also was wearing a loose-fitting jail uniform instead of street clothes as he listened to the government argue that he's on the hook for more than $7 million for his securities fraud conviction.

"Under the circumstances, I think he's doing remarkably well," his attorney, Ben Brafman, told reporters when asked about his client's stint in a fortress-like federal jail in Brooklyn.

Shkreli was convicted on charges he cheated investors in two failed hedge funds.

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto didn't immediately rule on the government's demand that Shkreli should have to forfeit $7.3 million in assets, including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" album that he has boasted he bought for $2 million. Prosecutors also want him to give up $5 million in cash in a brokerage account, his interest in a pharmaceutical company and other valuables including a Picasso painting.

The defense has argued that Shkreli owes nothing, because the hedge fund investors actually ended up making a profit off drug company stock he gave them. It also says that unlike most securities fraud cases, Shkreli himself never made anything off the scheme.

"This case was never about money as far as Mr. Shkreli is concerned," the defense said in court papers. The papers added: "Simply put, Mr. Shkreli was not indicted because he stole anyone's money."

Shkreli, 34, is perhaps best known for boosting the price of a life-saving drug and for trolling his critics on social media, where he became known as "Pharma Bro."

Shkreli was out on bail during his trial last year. But the judge decided to jail him for violating his bail conditions because of a social media posting offering a $5,000 bounty to anyone who could get a lock of Hillary Clinton's hair while she was on a book tour.

Shkreli's sentencing is set for March 9.

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