As part of an upcoming federal sentence regarding a fraud conviction he was found guilty of last summer, a judge has ruled that Martin Shkreli (also known as “Pharma Bro”) will have to give up $7.36 million in assets.
Judge Kiyo Matsumoto issued the ruling on Monday, stating that Shkreli may have to give up substantial “substitute” assets in order to satisfy the judgment, CNBC reports. These assets may include his stakeholdership in the pharmaceutical company he worked for, other assets in an E-Trade brokerage account he owns, and perhaps strangest of all, a rare Wu-Tang Clan album that Shkreli purchased at auction.
The album that Shkreli bought, “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin,” is famous for being the only copy of that album the hip-hop group ever released. Shkreli bought it at auction for over $2 million in 2015.
It’s unclear what the government will do with the album once Shkreli turns it over — if he ends up doing so at all. Matsumoto, immediately after issuing her ruling, stayed the order pending a likely appeal by the former pharmaceutical executive.
Shkreli made headlines in 2015 when he defended his company’s decision to raise the price of Daraprim (an important drug that combats parasites in pregnant women and individuals with HIV) from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.
“To me the drug was woefully underpriced,” he explained in defending the price hike.
Perhaps indicative of how ridiculous the price gouging was, students in Australia soon after demonstrated how easy it was to actually make Daraprim — producing nearly 4 grams of the active ingredient in the drug for just $20.
Shkreli faced legal challenges following his rise to infamy. Last summer, he was convicted of committing fraud in an unrelated case against investors, providing them assurances that their assets were making money when the opposite was true. Shkreli even went so far as to pay investors in his hedge fund scheme out of his own pocket to keep up appearances.
The announcement made on Monday regarding his forfeitures was related to this conviction. What time he’ll be spending behind bars will be determined this Friday.
There’s no doubt that Shkreli is receiving a punishment that fits his crimes. Whether it’s jacking up the prices of important prescription medication, or defrauding investors in his hedge fund dealings, Shkreli’s actions demonstrate that he has deep-seeded character flaws that, hopefully, some time behind bars will fix.
For fans of hip-hop music, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Wu-Tang album. For anyone who is a fan of common decency, however, all eyes will be on Shkreli’s sentencing hearing later this week.