|Martin Shkreli: He's a poster boy for White-On-Everybody Crime.|
Shkreli, CEO Reviled for Drug Price Gouging, Arrested on Securities Fraud Charges
By Christie Smyth
Martin Shkreli, the boyish drug company entrepreneur, who rocketed to infamy by jacking up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750, was arrested by federal agents at his Manhattan home early Thursday morning on securities fraud related to a firm he founded.
Shkreli, 32, ignited a firestorm over drug prices in September and became a symbol of defiant greed. The federal case against him has nothing to do with pharmaceutical costs, however. Prosecutors in Brooklyn charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it to 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. A New York lawyer, Evan Greebel, was also arrested early Thursday. He's accused of conspiring with Shkreli in part of the scheme.
Retrophin replaced Shkreli as CEO “because of serious concerns about his conduct,” the company said in a statement. The company, which hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing, has “fully cooperated with the government investigations into Mr. Shkreli.”
Shkreli’s lawyer declined to comment. Greebel, who worked at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and served as lead outside counsel to Retrophin from 2012 to 2014, helped Shkreli in several schemes, prosecutors said. A spokeswoman for Katten Muchin declined to comment; a spokeswoman for Kaye Scholer, where Greebel now works, said he joined the firm after the alleged activities occurred.
Authorities outlined years of investment losses and lies Shkreli allegedly told his investors almost from the moment he began managing money. By age 26, they said, he got nine investors to place $3 million with him, began losing their money and covering it up. Within a year, his fund's account was down to $331.