Martin Shkreli is the former hedge fund money manager whom everyone loves to hate because his strategy is to buy up the licenses for out-of-patent drugs and immediately hikes their prices. The one that brought him the most infamy was when he abruptly raised the price per pill of the drug Darapim from $13.50 to $700. He was arrested recently by the federal authorities on charges of securities fraud. And there was much cheering in the land because, yea verily, Shkreli is an abominable excuse for a human being.
What was unusual about the arrest was that the police must have tipped off the media about it because they were there to capture his perp walk from his apartment into a police vehicle.
Early this morning, FBI agents arrested pharma-hedge-douche Martin Shkreli for securities fraud at his apartment in NYC; Reuters photographers were on-hand at the arrest to photograph his “perp-walk” in handcuffs.
Ken White wants to know how they got there? That is, were the Reuters reporters lucky enough to be on a morning Manhattan ramble and got the lucky shot? Had they staked out Shkreli because they’d done investigative work and concluded that he was dirty?
Or did a law enforcement officer breach his duty — and the law — by putting in a sly call to Reuters to tip them that the arrest would be underway?
Shkreli argues that he was singled out for being treated this way, and even arrested, because of his high profile and low public standing, and that the government went out of its way to find something on him.
Cory Doctorow largely agrees with Shkreli on this point and says that the big mistake he made was behaving publicly in the way that the oligarchs normally behave in private.
His crime wasn’t financial fraud, in other words: it was bringing capitalism into disrepute.
That’s why the cops tipped off the press to catch his perpwalk, too: as a lesson to the rest of the one percent sociopaths: keep a low profile. Destroy people’s lives, yes. But don’t gloat about it in public. That’s what we have private parties and secret societies.
Shkreli committed his frauds years ago, to little official notice. But once Shkreli started to behave in public as millionaires behave behind closed doors, the authorities started to dig for the excuse to bust him that they knew they’d find, because something like that lurks in every hedge-douche’s past.
The Obama administration has rightly been accused of being too friendly to the financial sector and excusing their worst crimes. Remember that not a single high-level bank executive has gone to jail, or even been threatened with charges that carry jail time, for all their misdeeds that led to the massive collapse in 2008 and which caused immense misery for so many people.
It must be a relief for the feds to throw the book at a low-life like Shkreli so that they can act like they are tough on white-collar crime too. I am glad to see that smirk wiped off the face of the odious Shkreli and hope he gets a stiff prison sentence for pricing poor people who needed their medication out of the market. But the feds will have to do something similar to people like Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase or Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs before I take these efforts as a serious attempt to attack crime in the financial sector.