US judge orders ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli to forfeit US$7.3 million in fraud case
“Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli will have to forfeit more than US$7.3 million in assets that include his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album as part of his punishment in his securities fraud case, a judge ruled on Monday.
US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto issued the order against the jailed Shkreli four days before he is to face sentencing for his conviction last year on charges he cheated wealthy investors in two failed hedge funds he was managing.
Along with the Wu-Tang Clan “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” album that Shkreli has boasted he bought for US$2 million, he would have to give up US$5 million in cash in a brokerage account. He also would be forced to forfeit other valuables including a Picasso painting and another unreleased recording that he claims he owns, “Tha Carter V” by Lil Wayne.
The judge said the assets won’t be seized until Shkreli has a chance to appeal. His lawyer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The defence had argued that Shkreli shouldn’t have to forfeit anything because the hedge fund investors actually ended up making a profit from drug company stock he gave them.
The 34-year-old Shkreli is perhaps best known for jacking up the price of a life-saving drug and for his snarky online antics using the “Pharma Bro” moniker.
In a recent letter to the judge asking for leniency, Shkreli wrote, “I was wrong. I was a fool. I should have known better.”
It was an abrupt change in tone for Shkreli from the defiant attitude on display during the trial and even after his conviction when he was still out on bail. The judge revoked the bail and jailed him in September when he posted he would pay a US$5,000 bounty to anyone who could get a lock of Hillary Clinton’s hair while the prominent Democrat was on a book tour.
The defence is seeking a sentence of no more than 18 months behind bars. A recommendation from prosecutors is pending.