At this point, you might almost start to feel sorry for the so-called "most-hated CEO in America."

Martin Shkreli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, first gained notoriety after hiking the cost of an antiviral drug by 5,455 percent (from $13.50 to $750 a tablet).

Now, he's in a really bad place.

Physically, the bad place is the federal detention center in Brooklyn, New York, where a judge sent him last September to await sentencing for his conviction in a stock fraud and conspiracy case. 

But, legally speaking, things are beginning to look much worse, after a judge ruled Shkreli has to forfeit $7.36 million to the government as ill-gotten gains--even before he learns what kinds of fines he'll have to pay or how much time he'll have to spend in prison.

We'll talk about the assets involved in a second--the headline-grabber is the Wu-Tang Clan album he reportedly paid $2 million for. But obscured by these developments was the letter Shkreli wrote to the judge in his case last week.

And it's devastating. Facing a potential 10-year prison sentence or even longer, Shkreli sounds as if he's finally recognizing the position he's in, even while he still can't quite resist the temptation to argue that the jury's verdict doesn't accurately reflect what happened in his case. 

"I understand it, I am very far from blameless," Shkreli writes, asking the judge for leniency, and later adding, "Watching my trial was a very scary experience. I was wrong. I was a fool. I should have known better. For the first time in my life I saw me from other's perspective ... "

He also describes his time in prison as "the most frightening experience in my life but also an opportunity for me to see a side of the world seldom seen or discussed."

It's worth reading the whole thing, embedded at the end of this article, and trying to unpack the combination of remorse, incredulity, and stubbornness that Shkreli puts forth.

Meantime, things aren't looking good for the former CEO, who once claimed to be overjoyed at the jury's verdict in his case, and later predicted he'd only do six months in Club Fed.

Judge Kiyo Matsumoto ordered that he'll have to turn over assets including:

  • $5 million in cash (actually sitting in the E-Trade account that Shkreli had put up as bail)
  • The rest of his stake in Vyera Pharmaceuticals (the updated name of Turing Pharmaceuticals)
  • The Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and the Lil' Wayne album The Carter V  that he claimed to have purchased
  • A Pablo Picasso painting he apparently owned

Federal sentencing guidelines suggest that Shkreli could now easily get a decade or more behind bars. The charges technically carry a maximum sentence of 20 years. 

His lawyers also filed papers asking the judge to sentence him to much less, between 12 and 18 months. The defense filing suggests he's a sort of misguided genius and a "kind, caring, and generous person who uses his time and effort to help those in need. If not warehoused in prison, Martin could literally save lives."

One way or another, Shkreli will likely learn his fate soon. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this week.

Here's Shkreli's letter. (Or click here if you can't read it.)


 

Published on: Mar 6, 2018
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