Oh, Look! An Early Christmas Present!

If I’d been praying, I’d be tempted to believe in a god. No, wait, I wouldn’t – douchebros have a tendency to make their own misfortune, and our own terrible Martin Shkreli, last seen hiking the prices of a crucial drug for immunocompromised patiented by 5,000% and then using a few millions of the profits to buy a rare Wu Tang Clan album (which he could then prevent everyone else from enjoying), has managed to get himself arrested for securities fraud.

A boyish drug company entrepreneur, who rocketed to infamy by jacking up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750, was arrested by federal agents at his Manhattan home early Thursday morning on securities fraud related to a firm he founded.

Martin Shkreli, 32, ignited a firestorm over drug prices in September and became a symbol of defiant greed. The federal case against him has nothing to do with pharmaceutical costs, however. Prosecutors in Brooklyn charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it to pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He was later ousted from the company, where he’d been chief executive officer, and sued by its board.

In the case that closely tracks that suit, federal prosecutors accused Shkreli of engaging in a complicated shell game after his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, lost millions. He is alleged to have made secret payoffs and set up sham consulting arrangements. A New York lawyer, Evan Greebel, was also arrested early Thursday. He’s accused of conspiring with Shkreli in part of the scheme.

Ah, such sweet schadenfreude in the morning! Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fellow.

Image shows a microscope photo of a circular, purple group of parasites on the left, and a sneering Martin Shkreli on the right. Caption says, "One of these is an opportunistic parasite killing AIDS patients. The other is toxoplasmosis."

I do hope he’ll get to spend many unhappy years in prison, and that all his fortune vanishes. Not overnight, though. I want it to bleed away just slowly enough to be all the more agonizing, rather than the short, sharp shock. And I also wish him to end up with a mysterious itch that can never quite be scratched. That should do for a start. It’s the least he deserves.

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Oh, Look! An Early Christmas Present!
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7 thoughts on “Oh, Look! An Early Christmas Present!

  1. 1

    Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea!
    Joy to you and me!

    Sadly, he’s unlikely to get any real punishment, and even if he does, scum like him tend to float back up with all their millions intact. Just look at all the televangelists who continue to scam desperate people.

    Still, it’s nice to see justice done.

  2. 2

    Shkreli is a relatively minor player. If the regulatory agencies are willing to have him arrested and let pictures be taken of his frog-march, then they are very confident they have a solid case and it is pretty much guaranteed that he is going down hard.

    @AlexanderZ #1 – When people give money to a televangelist, they do so as a voluntary contribution and it is very, very difficult to prove fraud. With brokers, however, there is an amazingly long list of regulations and requirements, not to mention centuries of case law defining fiduciary responsibility and investor rights. Based on precedent, if he is convicted then his every asset will be seized by the federal government and liquidated in an effort to repay the people he defrauded. Then money will be taken out to pay for the cost of administering the reimbursement. Then money will be taken out to cover penalties and punitive damages. Then money will be taken out to pay his lawyers. Then, if there is anything left, he will get a check when he gets out of prison. His cars will be gone. His planes will be gone. His homes will be gone. His nice clothes will be gone. And by law, he will face additional jail time for offering any kind of investment advice, even if it just to recommend a bank savings account. Trust me: he will not get off lightly.

  3. 5

    Gregory in Seattle #2
    Theoretically you’re right, but if someone is sleazy enough to run stocks he is sure as hell sleazy enough to stash money in an off-shore account. Not only that, but there are certain types that would reward people who cheat the system with new job opportunities. It’s actually logical – sure, he was caught that one time, but he has proved to be able to get money by any means necessary, so as long as someone keeps an eye on him he could be an asset to a new firm.

  4. 6

    I hope you’re right, Gregory. He deserves to go down hard, whatever it takes. It doesn’t matter that this is unrelated to his despicable price-gouging. After all, Al Capone ended up in the Graybar Hotel because of income tax evasion, rather than all his other–and undeniably worse–transgressions.

  5. 7

    The world governments, in the guise of “fighting terrorism,” have been chipping away at banking secrecy for years. Even Switzerland has put in place laws that obligate banks to cooperate with investigations such as this. He will have had to be very clever, and worked with very clever international banking lawyers, to be able to successfully hide any money. That kind of care requires Warren Buffett level wealth, which he never had. He may find somewhere else to set up shop, but he will pretty much exiled from most countries for the rest of his life.

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