Martin Shkreli must turn over almost US$7.4 million to the U.S., a judge ruled in a win for prosecutors who say the hedge-fund manager turned pharmaceutical executive cheated his investors.
Shkreli had argued that he shouldn’t have to forfeit anything -- or just over US$500,000 at the most -- because he didn’t profit from the crimes. Money from his investors went into the stock market, and he didn’t get anything from a plan to control Retrophin shares, his lawyers have said. Investors ultimately got their money back, and more, through settlements and consulting agreements, Shkreli said.
He also wanted to pay other creditors, including his lawyers, before forfeiting any money -- a notion rejected Monday by U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn, New York.
Shkreli’s assets -- a Picasso, US$5 million in cash in a personal trading account, a one-of-a-kind special edition album by the Wu-Tang Clan, an unreleased Lil Wayne album and shares in Vyera Pharmaceuticals, formerly Turing Pharmaceuticals, -- can be used to fulfill the forfeiture if there’s not enough cash available, Matsumoto said in a separate order.
She ordered Shkreli to tell the government within 10 days where the assets are and to ensure they’re not diminished, damaged or dissipated in any way.
Prosecutors argued last month that Shkreli cost his investors more than $20 million by inducing them to put millions of dollars into his two hedge funds, which operated essentially like Ponzi schemes. They said he spent investor funds on personal expenses "to maintain the image of a successful hedge fund manager."
John Marzulli, a spokesman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, declined to comment on the judge’s decision.
Matsumoto ordered Shkreli jailed in September after he issued a bounty on social media for a sample of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s hair.
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