Last week, notorious pharmaceutical tycoon Martin Shkreli made headlines after it was revealed that he was the one who purchased the exclusive, multi-million dollar Wu-Tang album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. The Killer Bees were so bummed that the buyer was the man who decided to increase the price of a life-saving HIV/AIDS medication Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750, that they decided to donate proceeds to charity. Well, Shkreli-haters (which is pretty much everybody) got a bit of good news. Shkreli was arrested on securities fraud charges.
The federal case against him has nothing to do with pharmaceutical costs, however. Prosecutors charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it 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.
When Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceutical AG bought Daraprim, shut down its distribution and drove the price up by 55 times, the yuppie drew the ire of politicians, doctors, social justice workers and the public alike. Maybe they will all revel in Shkreli’s comeuppance. If he does go down, hopefully those suffering from toxoplasmosis (the parasitic disease that Daraprim treats) will get the help they need, and that Once Upon A Time In Shaolin will end up in the hands of a worthy owner that will true Wu-Tang fans thirsty to hear it. It also appears that Bobby Shmurda will have to sit a little longer. Shkreli announced that he wanted to bail the GS9 rapper out of Rikers, but now, he will have to focus on his own case.