Federal prosecutors said Friday that Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager notorious for raising the price of a critical drug, should forfeit more than $7 million in assets after being convicted of lying to investors.
Shkreli should turn over two rap albums — the only known copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” and Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV” — as well as $5 million in cash, interest in a company he started, Touring Pharmaceutical, and a Picasso painting, prosecutors said. They also asked that he give up a World War II-era Enigma code-breaking machine used against Nazi Germany.
Shkreli is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., while awaiting sentencing. The prosecutors’ request did not address how much time they believe he should serve. The most serious charges can lead to up to 20 years in prison.
The forfeiture of $7,360,450 “represents a conservative computation of the proceeds Shkreli personally obtained as a result of his three different securities fraud crimes of conviction,” Bridget M. Rohde, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a court filing Friday.
Shkreli was convicted this summer of misleading investors in two of his hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. He lied to get their money and then to cover up massive losses after he made a bad stock bet, according to prosecutors. Shkreli disputed the charges and attempted to sway the jury with a simple rebuttal: His investors were wealthy and sophisticated and he ultimately made them richer.
Shkreli’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said they would oppose the government’s forfeiture request. “Our position is clear. None of the investors lost any money and Martin did not personally benefit from any of the counts of conviction. Accordingly, forfeiture of any assets is not an appropriate remedy,” Brafman said in a statement.
The former hedge fund manager’s infamy has hung over the case, beginning with jury selection when the judge struggled to find potential jurors who didn’t already dislike him. He is best known for raising the price of Daraprim — a 62-year-old drug primarily used to treat newborns and HIV patients — from $13.50 to $750 a pill. Shkreli faced a flurry of criticism of the move, but instead of shrinking from the spotlight, he often battled his critics online and gained the nickname “Pharma Bro” for his antics.
Shkreli paid $2 million for the only known copy of a Wu Tang Clan album, but then only released parts of the album until after President Donald Trump was elected. He later lashed out at the hip-hop group for distancing itself from him. “If I hand you $2 million . . . show me some respect. At least have the decency to say nothing or ‘no comment,’ ” he said on Twitter. During the trial, news of the spat became an issue when one potential juror was dismissed after they said Shkreli was likely guilty because he had disrespected the group.
Even after being convicted, Shkreli struggled to repress his quirky instincts and to stay off social media. In September, a federal judge revoked his bail after prosecutors complained that his out-of-court antics posed a danger to the community. Shkreli harassed women online, prosecutors argued, and even offered his Facebook followers $5,000 to grab a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair during her book tour.