When fraud happens those affected don't usually get their money back much less a return on that money. However, it's pretty clear what he did is also fraud (false documents, not returning people's money when they asked for it) even if the fact that investors came out better makes the plaintiffs less sympathetic.
That will be a footnote at sentencing. Federal sentencing is generally based on intended or actual loss, whichever is greater. Further, the judge is allowed to take into account intended losses from his entire course of conduct, not just the intended losses from the specific counts on which he was found guilty.
In other words, the fact that his investors lost no actual money will have little bearing on his sentence. I don't know what the actual amount he took in was, but he will be sentenced for a multimillion dollar fraud scheme, and because he went to trial and lost, he'll get nowhere near the minimum. The government likes to punish people for making them expend the time and effort of a trial (in 2012, 97% of federal cases ended with a guilty plea instead of a trial ). He's probably looking at 5 years at best.
Also, harm/damage is a big consideration in sentencing. He broke the law, yes. But usually a violation of the law in this regard results in substantial losses. Because it did not here, the only damage is his violation of his contractual obligation to provide money back to those who said they wanted to cash out. By holding the money, he deprived them of their rightful property as per the contract they signed when they invested with him. And considering they would have a real hard time beating his returns, proving any sort of tort injury is essentially impossible. This leaves only the statutory violation, meaning he amazingly didn't necessarily harm anyone or their property but rather just broke the law. Given the lack of injury to the victims of his crime, I think he's likely to see a very light sentence.
In this case, because of the amount involved, the guidelines will call for a substantial prison sentence (well over 5 years). There is actually a loss table (again, we're talking about the "intended loss") that determines a certain number of points for the loss  (plus 7 points for the "base offense level"), and that number of points is then used with the sentencing table  to determine the sentence. The judge is of course free to depart up or down from the guideline sentence, but the sentencing range determined by those tables will be the starting point. The odds that he will receive no prison time at all after having gone to trial and lost are effectively zero. The judge will likely cut him some kind of break because nobody actually lost anything - his lawyers will argue that he showed remorse after the fact by eventually making his victims whole - but that will have a minor effect at best. My best guess, having watched many of these things play out, is 4-6 years.
Not bad, merely ignorant. You're celebrating the incarceration of someone you presumably know very little about, all while searching for "true" victims ("perhaps the public?") to fuel your indignation.
This man has harmed quite a few people... or their insurance companies... which of course means harming of their customers, i.e. "us" (who can even afford insurance).
I know enough about Shkreli to consider him an awful, awful person. Do I need to know how much he loves his children, or something equally conceited and pointless?
No, no I don't.
EDIT: Oh, wait, you're one of those extremist libertarian types, aren't you? (At least judging by your most recent 5 comments).
EDIT: Look, if he hadn't been convicted of securities fraud, I would still be defending his rights as a... defendant, but now that he has been convicted, I don't feel sorry for him. (For ultimately unrelated reasons, as it turns out. I'm guessing I'm a bad person for that.)
That isn't what this trial is about. Just because you don't like someone because of one thing, doesn't mean they should be getting a harsh sentence for a separate crime (which apparently had no victims).
Perhaps instead of vilifying characters who break the not at all free market pharmaceutical industry, and name-calling people who espouse ideologies that conflict with your pre-existing beliefs, you should instead consider why a single guy was able to stir up so much trouble in your heavily regulated medical industry. Was it because there wasn't enough government to protect people? Or was it more likely due to an extremely high barrier to entry to the pharmaceutical industry imposed by the FDA? (And in other cases, excessive IP protections play a significant role).
I'll leave it as an exercise.
Unfair sentencing is just as much judicial malfeasance as is prosecutorial misconduct, unfair court trials or allegations. As citizens of America (which I assume, but do not know you to be) we should all champion fairness at ever level of the judicial process at all times, lest we ever find ourselves or our friends in the crosshairs of a court that we've allowed to give punitive sentencing to.
There are undoubtedly very good debates to be had on what might be considered a fair sentence for a crime of this nature, but if you're damning him for crimes completely disconnected from this case, then by definition you are championing an unfair sentence. That's the sort of thing that has allowed our judicial system to get away with so much unfair treatment in the past, and for all our sakes, we should root against it at every level.
This counts as personal attack and we ban people for that. In addition, it's not legit to use HN for ideological battle. (Irrespective of which flavors you're for or against.) So would you please not post like this again?
From where I sit, I do not see much difference between the man this article is about, and those enjoying schadenfreude at his expense. All are trapped in the same place.
Definitely going to be interesting to hear the judges words during sentencing. I was listening to the Michelle Carter sentencing yesterday, as I was following that relatively closely. Now I'm waiting to see what happens here, but this is much more cut and dry than that case. I'm only interested because it's Shkreli.
As a hedge fund manager, losing money is not illegal. The only illegal thing he did was lie about it so that he could get them their money back.
It would've been perfectly legal for him to lose all his clients money in the hedge fund, make them aware of this fact, and reap the profits from his pharma business without dishing it out to his hedge fund clients.
As far as I can tell, Shkreli turned a technically legal "I fucked up and lost your money scenario" into a technically illegal I fucked up, lost your money, but got it back to you scenario.
If I was part of Shkreli's hedge fund, I would much prefer to be involved in the latter scenario than the former.
Sure, I could sue Shkreli to recoup some of my hedge fund losses, but this way they didn't need to.
You're missing the point; giving his investors 'their' money back was the thing he did that was unethical and illegal. If you're a fund manager and the value of your portfolio goes down after making bad bets, you can't just inject your own money into the fund to make it look like you have a positive track record so that you can solicit more outside funds.
He took some of Retrophin investors profits and used it to pay back his investors in MSMB. Those profits should have gone to Retrophin investors.
From the perspective of the hedge fund, this is a pretty bad spot to be in. Retrophin investors will be looking to be made whole for the money Shkreli gave to MSMB investors.
I would imagine that this is how Ponzi schemes start.
It may look surprising given the hatred of bankers here, but it's a profession based on honesty. A guy got banned from the city in London for regularly frauding on his train tickets.
I think his behavior in both this case and in his "pharmaceutical" endeavor clearly demonstrate his willingness to rip people off.
I am just trying to come to some sort of logical conclusion about how the judge might approach sentencing, using my limiting knowledge of law.
In Shkreli's case, he didn't actually harm anyone through fraud, because although he committed fraud, he got them their money back through entirely legal, non-fraudulent means.
Completely over the top illustrative example: you give me money for ten years to invest in real estate, because your investment portfolio is lacking in that sector. I blow it all on cocaine and hookers, then when the money is due I get nervous, buy lottery tickets and win. You get your money back, with a nice profit attached in the upper parts of what could be expected by a real estate investment. Was I a faithful manager of your money? Hell no! If you wanted lottery tickets you would have bought them yourself.
Not these rich people, no. He had no qualms about ripping off regular people with his other business though.
That's how it should be. However, if that were really the case, poor Ross wouldn't be serving two life sentences.
While I understand why this is true, I hate it about our legal system. If you're not guilty then you shouldn't be coerced into a plea because of the draconian maximum punishment they hold over your head.
This is evident nowhere more clearly than drug convictions, where they can lock you up for the rest of your life because you're doing something they don't like.
The system isn't malicious, it's just not designed to counteract this sort of thing.
So bottom line, you should never admit or confess to anything. If the prosecutor has enough evidence, he'll probably start with an offer of a plea deal. If his evidence is marginal, he might try to get a plea but likely won't bring charges if he thinks his chances in court are iffy.
If you go to trial anyway, in the face of strong evidence against you, then you've probably lost your chance at a light sentence, modulo how good a defense you can afford.
Yes they do. They throw a huge array of charges, provable or now, at people with the intent to scare them.
Punishing people for refusing to plead guilty should be a crime.
AFAICT, the Retrophin investors lost actual money. The losses came out of gains and reduced them, and they still had net gains from Retrophin, but they lost money to the fraud.
> Shkreli said during a press conference after the jury's announcement that he was "delighted by the verdict" since he was found not guilty on a key charge regarding his former drug company Retrophin.
Q: How much time do you likely face?
Shkreli: Uh I'm guessing none on the short side 6 months long side
Granted his social awkwardness and attention seeking threw a lot of fuel on that fire, so he's partially at fault for encouraging it. But if you look past those immature antics he's a smart and productive member of society. It would be a shame, in my opinion, if he winds up in prison for several years. I think a fairer sentence would be a big fine and parole.
He defrauded and stole money from the investors in the pharma company to repay the people he defrauded and stole money from in the hedge funds. The one set of victims getting a return only happened by stealing returns belonging to the other set of victims.
> However, it's pretty clear what he did is also fraud (false documents, not returning people's money when they asked for it) even if the fact that investors came out better makes the plaintiffs less sympathetic.
Criminal cases have separate prosecution and victims, but not plaintiffs. It's the victims (well, one of two sets of them) that are potentially less sympathetic for the reason you describe.
That is not at all what I read. It seemed like he personally made a lot of money from his pharma business, and used that to repay the investors of the fund?
Can you please source your statement?
I don't live in the US, but being convicted by a "jury of your peers" is frankly, ridiculous. When has the average person been able to grasp complex matters relating to say, securities fraud? Most people aren't even able to stay out of debt.
A panel of judges with specialised experience often makes a lot more sense than a jury.
Edit: and for those voting me down, at least explain why you don't agree.
Clearly the US system is far from perfect but I don't think getting rid of juries would make it better.
Also, in practice, judges make rulings on things outside their expertise too.
Practically, united states of america have biggest incarceration rate in the world, one of the most expensive legal systems (if not most expensive) and quite long sentences compared to other western countries. Jury nullification is basically never used and majority of jury members don't know about it.
I am not saying that other countries have flawless awesome court system, definitely not. But I have yet to read something that would convince me that jury is better or at least worth additional expenses.
They don't do that, they prevent pretty much nothing.
Put simply, if you want to make claims about whether jury trials or bench trials put more people in jail wrongfully by citing US incarceration data you have to somehow contend with the fact that the vast majority of cases don't go to a trial of any kind. Or at least have an argument as to why switching to bench trials would change that circumstance.
He wasn't convicted because he was an asshole. He was convicted because he broke the law. I think the fact that he was acquitted on 2 of the 5 counts is evidence that the jury made a determination based on facts, rather than their feeling towards him.
That being said, in a trial in the US, the judge applies the law, and the jury determines the facts, especially as they pertain to the credibility of testimony. If the defendant is an outrageous asshole, it's possibly more likely that the jury would interpret inconclusive evidence less favorably. I don't think that's necessarily the worst thing in the world, and it's also not clear that a panel of judges wouldn't be subject to similar biases.
Well, yes and no. They only bothered looking for his other crimes and prosecuting his because he became unpopular. That's disturbing.
What if I'm the victim of financial crimes by someone who didn't piss of Congress and the public? Where's my justice?
Shkreli was first investigated by the SEC in 2003, and had two multimillion dollar judgements against his two bankrupt hedge funds for failing to cover puts and short sales.
So when he shows up running a new company, it's not unimaginable that he was on some people's radar.
But how about hacking? Securities fraud? Money laundering? Tax fraud? These are all highly specialised issues that the average person knows nothing about. No average person, unless they have an interest in it, will be able to make a good call on such a case.
Where it goes to a jury is when there's a dispute of fact rather than law: the judge has determined that whether the defendant violated the law or not depends on a fact disputed between the prosecution and the defense (e.g. whether the defendant actually did or didn't do something, or what the defendant's intent was). The jury then decides whether the facts support conviction, although even then they're typically guided by very specific instructions from the judge about what they would have to find in order to convict.
Also, none of these subjects are so difficult and complicated ordinary people cannot understand them. I've never heard of a trial requiring any real deep knowledge, like requiring jurors to have a serious understanding algebraic geometry or quantum mechanics or phenomenology. Hacking can be explained to ordinary people. People are not dumb. People do their own taxes and understand taxes. Trained professionals are not elite superheroes who are the only ones who can understand the world well enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. Untrained people can't do a professional's job, but they can definitely (with some help and background) tell when a professional has committed a crime. This case is easily understandable. I'm not a securities expert but I can make a fine assessment here just from reading an article, even without hours and hours of doing nothing but learning about the specific case and law (which is what jurors get); we all know what fraud is.
Plenty of things can be simplified for non professionals, but the nuance of certain topics is then often lost. A single word in a written law can matter a lot.
No disrespect to anyone, but can an average career teacher understand the nuances of securities law? Can (s)he understand the actual difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion? Some can, absolutely. Others definitely can't and are operating way out of their league.
Lawyers and prosecutors are great at creating stories, but isn't what matters or not whether the law has been broken?
As an example; I had a tax issue (different interpretation of a certain law) but retained an amazing tax lawyer. He was _great_. The way they juggle the story around without lying, yet drawing the line very close, is amazing. Based on personal experience, I just don't think it can work without subject experts.
Amazing charismatic lawyers (or prosecutors) will be able to bend an outcome, and that is just not right.
Yes they can, that's exactly the position I outlined. After a week of doing nothing but learning about securities law every teacher I've met is capable of this no problem. Teachers are perhaps a bad example here though, they are highly educated (many have masters' degrees, most have bachelors) and interested in learning. But to make your argument stronger, take a minimum wage fast food worker with a GED, yes I think they are capable as well.
>Lawyers and prosecutors are great at creating stories, but isn't what matters or not whether the law has been broken?
Kind of. In fact in the US legal system this is not all that matters, because the law is often vague and abstract and sometimes obviously morally wrong. The purpose of the jury is exactly this, it's a check on a cold soulless system destroying lives robotically; not only must a law be broken, but you also have to convince a group of fairly normal human beings that what you've done is horrible enough you deserve to be punished for it before you are punished.
>Amazing charismatic lawyers (or prosecutors) will be able to bend an outcome, and that is just not right.
I agree with you here, and this essentially means the rich get away with things the poor are punished for. This will always happen, will it not? People who are able to present a more convincing argument in their defense are less likely to be convicted in any legal system? I think things can be done to mitigate this, yes, and they start with a simpler criminal code (fewer crimes) and more equal access to legal talent, like better funded public defenders.
One can expect any judge to be an individual with above average intellectual ability.
I personally agree with following:
* Defendant being dick or unpleasant should not affect guilty/not guilty verdict in fair justice system.
* Defendant being charismatic or seemingly intelligent should not affect guilty/not guilty verdict in fair justice system either.
* A panel of judges with specialised experience often makes a lot more sense than a jury.
Why not? This is basically what the law does as well: codifies what society considers punishable assholery (e.g. murdering people or stealing or etc...).
So convicting him because he has been as asshole (even if it's in an unrelated case) is not that different to convicting him for being guilt on this or that legally defined behavior -- it's just not written down in a law book.
This would make sense in a country where trust in authorities is high, and people generally believe that the judges and the justice system is impartial and fair, without too much personal and hidden agendas.
But in a country where the trust in the system is lower, a jury of peers provides a safety mechanism so that the justice system cannot diverge too far from the point of view of the "common man".
One of my friends just served on the jury for a murder trial. He's got a Ph.D.. From my recollection, at least two of the other jurors also had postgraduate degrees.
Remember that the jury selection process is managed jointly -- which somewhat naturally leads to the clipping off of people at either end of the extremes that the defense and prosecution are concerned about.
Conversely, if what you've done is not justifiable to society, you should be punished for it even if it is not a crime. The easiest way to understand this is when first-mover advantages run amok. If you're the first person to think of some dastardly evil, you should not be permitted to do it just because nobody has yet written a law prohibiting it. Like, say, the Coca-Cola Corporation is not innocent for putting addictive substances in their drinks simply because it wasn't illegal at the time. And Shkreli's price gouging doesn't sit well with anybody either. A person's ignorance about some harm does not constitute permission to commit that harm against them.
>When has the average person been able to grasp complex matters relating to say, securities fraud?
The defendant has an attorney whose job it is to explain these matters to the jury.
Secondly it is much easier to pay off a judge and keep it quiet than a bunch of random jurors.
Thirdly judges can become calloused by virtue of their continued sentencing people to prison. They won't have the empathy that the jury will feel for both the accuser and the accused.
Fourth, the jury can ignore an outrageous law. For example oftentimes they refused to convict escaped slaves in the north.
Putting your freedom in the hands of one person who may very well be corrupt is much more dangerous than puttIng it in the hands of regular people.
Additionally I can't remember where, but I heard that 10 people or so working together usually come up with as good a solution as an expert anyways.
In modern times we've arrested plenty of performers, Lenny Bruce, various rock musicians for being "lewd" or other retarded reasons. It only gets worse farther back you go.
As a society we love to lock up those who make us feel uncomfortable or are "weird".
That seems to me morally evil and also very suspect. Although I'm sure the rigidity of the legal system would not allow this kind of inference to be made or pursued legally.
It would just seem to me as a legal/pharma layman that basically a bunch of sick people got screwed so that some investors (gamblers imo) could get their money back.
Those are both extremely inappropriate, tbf...
If you owe the bank $1 million, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank $1 billion, you own the bank.
They only convict the Martin Shkreli's and the Martha Stewart's. The people with real money are completely safe.
Sadly, though: Screw folks by raising the cost of a life-saving drug by 5000%, business as usual. Screw over investors, go to jail.
OP is pointing out that because Shkreli initially became infamous for his drug price raising, many members of the public are probably seeing ‘Shkreli found guilty’ and assuming it was because of that incident, which many felt was wrong and immoral. This article (And other coverage of the trial) doesn’t make any such claim.
I don't know much about this case in particular. It was kinda sleazy to see the congress question him about his price increases when they knew damn well it was perfectly legal and they haven't done anything to stop it. Shkreli seems to be trying to expose this hypocrisy, but the news loves their stories.
yeah seems like a great dude...
In this case, the original commenter wants to tar all centralized institutions as corrupt (congress, news, etc). His strategy is to paint Shrekli in the best possible light, to make him a martyr for the cause.
He even paints Shrekli as another Snowden:
> It exposes it. Not quite as monumental, but a Snowden moment. Remember, congress did squat about the price gouging, because that's what they get paid to do.
It sounds like he definitely lied to investors, but he apparently didn't intend to steal their money, and took pains to make sure he did not cost them money in the end. Apparently most investors in the fund that lost all it's money ended up close to tripling their investment after he worked to replace the lost money in the end.
That leaves me thinking that "up to 20 years" is a bit harsh given the facts. Hopefully the judge will take that into consideration and give him a more lenient sentence.
fraud wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain
stealing take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it
No, Shkreli didn't intend to steal their money since they gave it to him. However, he did in fact deceive them as to what he did with said money. So he was convicted of fraud.
Also of note, in the NY Times article, they call out how his defense tried to mount a defense based on the financial profit or personal gain portion of the definition.
The defense asked why Mr. Shkreli, if he wanted to commit fraud, didn’t commit fraud: He ultimately paid back his investors with shares of Retrophin, which became valuable, along with cash. His lawyers also asked how Mr. Shkreli profited, painting him as a hardworking oddball who, rather than throwing in the towel after his funds imploded, vowed to get his investors’ money back. He paid them back late, they argued, but he paid them back.
Apparently, that wasn't successful.
Yes, Shkreli is probably at best guilty of being guilty. But please don't mind me at all if I enjoy this feel good item just a little more than the usual story about someone being guilty of being poor.
No, it's equating restitution and intent with lenient sentencing.
Even if I grant that he intended to defraud people initially (which doesn't appear to be the case), that's still analogous to if someone stole your car, but later had a change of conscience, returned it, and had also fixed your dents and given it a new paint job to make amends. Are they guilty of theft? Yes. Should they be punished? Probably. Should they get the same punishment as someone who stole your car and crashed it, or stole it and sold it? I don't think so. That's leniency. You may have a different opinion.
Yeah, but he is.
Spare me the faux "logically objective" pose. There is a reason he's known as the "most hated man in America". His actions have earned him this reputation.
Because that title sells clicks, much like every other piece of hyperbolic clickbait spewed onto the internet these days?
If he truly is the most hated man in America, by fact, then it's simply further proof that Americans, as a collective entity, are willingly at the highest extremes of ignorance.
A USD 750 list price for a drug does NOT result in most people paying the list price. Most people get it via insurance, insurance companies pay a negotiated rate and you pay the copay (frequently higher than what the insurance company actually pays). Retrophin isn't a widely used drug so the effect on overall premiums was also tiny. His company literally offered the drug for free to anyone who for whom insurance didn't pay for it and who couldn't afford it. He also had a publicly stated business plan whereby he would use profits from Retrophin to invest in research into similar drugs which pharmaceutical companies have not been doing since Retrophin had been losing money.
Given the byzantine manner in which payments are actually made in the US, there simply isn't any other way to price an orphan drug, i.e. a drug that very few people actually need. The only way to make a business that produces life-and-death drugs needed by very few people sustainable is to price the drug very high due to very high fixed regulatory costs per drug manufactured. If you want to change this, it needs legislation and FDA reform. Demonizing businesses that raise prices to ensure they make a reasonable profit, will only result in drugs that are life-and-death for a small number of people either getting taken off the market or not coming to the market in the first place.
What's FAR more concerning is things like the recent increases in pricing for things like the Epi-Pen. Prices were raised 10x but also the expiration date on Epi-Pens is artificially short, so hospitals, schools etc are forced to throw away perfectly usable Epi-Pens for no good reason. Nobody talks about that because that price hike was by order of a senator's daughter. Shrekili just happens to be a bit of a PR nincompoop.
What we really need is a populace that thinks carefully and independently and a press that actually spends money on investigative reporting instead of relying on what politicians tell them to report, which helps their bottom line since it's much cheaper.
Obtaining a license just to increase a drug's price from $13.50 to $750 for no apparent reason other than greed isn't enough for you?
This case isn't about that. Are you suggesting we should convict and punish people on trial for one crime because we don't like their past activities and behaviors? Even if those other behaviors were illegal, they should be considered during a separate trial that's actually pertaining to them.
That wasn't your question, was it? You asked why he's human garbage, I explained why. I wasn't defending or attacking this case, I was explaining why some think he is human garbage.
> Nowhere was I (or you) saying anything about this case.
Your specific words in your original response were "He's human garbage, let him rot." That response was to me saying I think the details of the case lead me to believe that I think he should a light sentence.
You very specifically noted through that euphemism that you think he shouldn't get a light sentence in this case because he's human garbage.
Edit: Sorry. That was someone else. I was specifically asking in context, but that wasn't you originally. Mea Culpa. Leaving it here with this note so people that saw it previously can see me retraction.
No. It was about fraud.
Why should we NOT punish people for fraud?
The ways that question are answered in this thread prove your assertion is false. This case IS about that, because without that, he'd just be one more pennyless felon.
Who said he shouldn't be punished? I simply stated that since he made restitution prior to charges being brought, perhaps that should factor into sentencing. I don't know who you're arguing against, or what you're really arguing, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with what I've been talking about.
Restitution isn't the only reason for punishment.
> I don't know who you're arguing against, or what you're really arguing
That he's clearly unapologetic and simply got lucky, and that this should factor into sentencing.
This is how society's immune system functions.
I also see a distinction between Capone and Shkreli in that Capone's other actions which may have influenced his trial were myriad illegal activities that they couldn't get evidence for. Shkreli is just believed to be an asshole.
The justice system is meant to punish specific crimes, which it did done in both cases, but that doesn't prohibit you as a human to see it as karmic justice, for someone being a garbage human, wether legally or illegally.
Normally, no (which I said explicitly in another comment here). In this case, the activities are linked. There's no need to evade taxes if your income isn't illegal.
Even so, I don't subscribe to the argument that it's entirely a good thing that we prosecuted Capone for tax evasion. We were unable to prove the actual criminal activities, so we instead looked at the fruits of those activities and used that.
Another way to look at it is that the justice system completely failed initially. We couldn't build a case for the major crimes, but we could for the lesser crimes. He was still guilty of both (this is of course assuming his guilt).
In Shkreli's case, we failed to prosecute originally because it's not a crime. The current case isn't related in the same way, and linking them and punishing in the latter because of people's perception of the former is akin to levying a harsher sentence on someone because of their interracial marriage in a region and time when that was legal but frowned upon. Social pressure unrelated to the issue at hand should not be relevant in court. Even if it's related to the issue at hand in the case, it should be restricted to sentencing (where it likely can't be removed anyway).
And it's not like anyone was hurt. Overall, insurers ended up paying a bit more (drugs are only 10-15% of US health care costs, and very few people need Daraprim). Big deal. If more people did this, then the system would get this issue addressed, maybe.
On top of that, he said he was investing the profits into researching better drugs, though of course that's not a requirement.
If you want to make a profit and drink champagne on yachts that's totally fine, just don't go around telling everyone that you're pouring those profits back into research.
At some point if your system is so terribly busted and no one is fixing it, eh, maybe you lose the right to hate people abusing it. Or maybe his wit and charisma is making me blind to the issue here.
I'm getting increasingly annoyed at the culture of praising exploiters of the system instead of promoting constructive players (who are less profitable, ie less sexy). I understand that the contrarian view to "The Man" is the easiest one to take, even if I think the identified "Man" is the diametrical opposite.
My point is fairness and accusations of greed cut both ways, if fairness was truly the concern of the poster he would also cut his standard of living in order to benefit those much worse off than him. As he more than likely does not his argument is not "let's increase fairness" but rather "people in my class and I deserve more" and that's the same argument the people raising the drug prices are making.
This guy speaks out and maybe he is an asshole and suddenly everyone hates him.
The rest keep their profits to themselves and we don't seem to care or mind.
Acknowledging the fact that what you're doing is wrong does not suddenly make that thing right. It's still wrong. And you're still an asshole for doing it.
What matters is: 1) did people lose money, due to some scam? and 2) did he do anything illegal.
The investors who invested all made money — by the defense’s tally, more than triple what they invested.
Put simply, if I burn my house down in order to collect the insurance money, I've committed insurance fraud whether or not I pay that money back, and no amount of profit on the payback negates the illegality.
It's more similar to you managing a property for someone, and telling them you got fire insurance when you haven't yet, and then when the house burns down accidentally you work to make the money to cover what the insurance would have covered. You did commit fraud by not getting the insurance when you said you would, but you also covered the costs in the end.
That said, I agree that my analogy was bad, and I wasn't trying to assert that Shkrelli deliberately set the house on fire as much as I was just looking for an appropriate analogy of something that is illegal even though it did not have any financial damages.
The point was that while damages from fraud may be financial, the fraud is the damage, and the lie is the crime.
Yeah, I was just trying to add more information to it, and point out what I thought were interesting portions of the case. Less a rebuttal and more an clarification and addition. :)
The case itself is very interesting because the situation is very interesting, and that's only compounded by his public persona, which is reviled by many because of prior media attention.
I'm not sure whether that company was the one responsible for the drug price hike, and whether that constituted a lot of the profits or that actually went back into research as I believe he said it did during that episode.
Honestly, the issue was that he's an utter asshole, including to his investors. Investors are willing to put with a lot if you triple their money, but Shkreli managed to cross that line. That made him an easy target for the prescription drugs investigation and media circus.
Suppose you lent 10,000 to a friend and the friend promised to return it within a year. A year later, your friend doesn't pay you back and makes a bunch of excuses. Instead, he takes the 5,000 he has left to the casino, gambles it on the roulette wheel and by luck manages to turn that into 30,000 and pays you back 1.5 years later. I don't think you would be happy with that situation...
> “I asked Fred where the funds had come from, and he responded, ‘The meeting with the General Dynamics board was a bust and I knew we needed money for Monday, so I took a plane to Las Vegas and won $27,000.’ I said, ‘You mean you took our last $5,000— how could you do that?’ He shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘What difference does it make? Without the funds for the fuel companies, we couldn’t have flown anyway.’ Fred’s luck held again. It was not much, but it came at a critical time and kept us in business for another week.” 
Shkreli may have been able to work his pseudo-Ponzi-ish scheme to investors' benefit. But it is pretty easy to look up the sordid history of the vast majority of Ponzi-type schemes, to see why this type of activity is generally illegal.
A. If you get caught, you're going to prison
But more importantly -
B. If, however, you work hard to ensure the people you defrauded are not harmed by your fraud, your sentence will be lighter than if you were the type of fraudster to cut and run.
I don't know about you, but in light of the fact that fraudsters are always going to exist, I'd like to incentivize the "benevolent fraudsters", rather than pretending (through equal sentencing) that there is no difference between the two.
I'd be joyous if the return was better than I could expect to make otherwise, say > 10-20%.
Investments are risky. They are not automatic.
What I wouldn't be happy about is if I was lied to about the risk of an investment. That is closer to what this case is about. The money gained or lost doesn't really matter.
This isn't ok because the original investor was paid off. That's also how Ponzi schemes work - the original investors are paid off (I know, here the money seems to be generated from Retrophin, but the behavior is the same).
This gave me a perspective: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2015-12-17/martin-sh...
Let me add to this: Buying a company you have a government mandated monopoly on (patent) that owns a product that people will die if they don't take (inelastic demand), and has a huge barrier to entry for new, competing entrants (FDA) is conceivably less risk than throwing chips on a roulette wheel.
I have a feeling that since most people have never dealt with the justice system, they fail to appreciate just how black and white it really is. While the movies/TV do portray cases where "extenuating circumstances" help the case, most cases are pretty straightforward.
I think it's nice everyone came out okay, besides Shkreli in this case I guess. I still think what he did was wrong though because if you don't punish that kind of behavior, then you're encouraging people to do things that are wrong in the hopes they will succeed, and it won't always work out as it happened to do so here.
Can you elaborate on this?
So if everything happened identically but he failed to make them money _then_ it would be bad? I don't understand.
"The investors who invested all made money — by the defense’s tally, more than triple what they invested."
There is definitely something mesmerizing though about watching someone conjure complex data onto a screen seemingly by magic and a few key strokes though. Although really it is just memorizing a ton of hot keys and a bunch of buried menu shortcuts.
https://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:EBAY (click 5y)
It's hard to buy into this when he was directly profiting from this attempt to expose.
He committed early on to give financial aid to those that could not afford the new drug's price. His conscious is rather clean. I see it no different to what most private schools do - charge a huge sticker price then offer aid, so that everyone gets charged as much as they can afford, even if barely.
Because doing so would kill people?
> He committed early on to give financial aid to those that could not afford the new drug's price.
Did he actually do this or just say he would? As has been noted by others through this thread, including by folks who like him, he's prone to lying.
Also, are you really claiming that people of all incomes have equal access to expensive private schools?
As for whether he has implemented financial aid yet, I do not know. Bear in mind that only tens of people buy this drug a year, so implementing financial aid is almost as easy as just having an email account for requests.
- Charm: a lot of people don't realize this, but the "con" in "con man" is short for "confidence". They work by abusing and exploiting people's confidence in them. A con man has to have enough charm to get people to place their confidence in him, or the scheme isn't going to work.
- Intelligence: fraud isn't something you can pull off by brute strength. You need a sharp mind to plan a scheme and carry it out.
If a con man wasn't "charming and unbelievable intelligent", I'd doubt his efficacy as a con man.
And I'll also add that "charming and unbelievable intelligent" is a good way to describe a number of serial killers. Charm and intelligence doesn't a good person make.
Yeah, I know this person is technically being charged with being a Russian double agent and committing treason, but he just seems so down to earth, relatable, and smart! Swoon!
"Ah this guy is smart, so he must be a good person!" or "this person is bad, well he must be an idiot!"
I'd argue, this mental shortcut stems from the way we view ourselves:
"I know I'm smart, but I don't know if I'm good, so I'll just set $smartness = $goodness so I no longer have to worry!"
There's no redeeming yourself from that just because you're charming or intelligent. Psychopaths often are.
Screwing insurance companies means increased costs for everyone. I'd really rather not pay 20% higher premiums every year to pad someone like Shkreli's pocketbook.
Many drugs of similar kind, as Shkreli would point out, have a similar price. The difference is that those drugs are owned by faceless pharmaceutical companies with PR teams. Shkreli was an obnoxious person who was doing an obnoxious thing and as a result the government swatted him with some unrelated charges (Incidentally, I thought his defense of "I didn't commit fraud, because all investors made money" was a pretty good defense).
I can wish whatever the hell I want to wish. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's right, and everyone here arguing that he's a good person because he's not doing anything illegal is inherently arguing that "legal" == "morally right".
No. He's still a shitty person and I can wish him the most painfully infected ingrown toenails and I will still sleep soundly at night.
I wish that people would do the right thing. I also wish Congress would fix our health care issues. I can do both, and they're both just as likely to happen. In the meantime, he deserves all the public shame in the world.
The solution is both. Just because a broken system allows you to get away with being a monster doesn't justify you being a monster.
That wouldn't be fraud though, because, among other things, you aren't damaged by it. You might be damaged by it if you sent me your money, and I actually used it to buy myself sugar cookies, but you didn't.
What I'm trying to get at is "harm" or "damage" is typically a component of a fraud case. In this case, the defense of "My investors didn't lose money, but actually made back multiples of their initial investment" seems very strong to me.
Shkreli had a company which failed and lost investors money. Rather than break the bad news, he lied to them, started another company, made more money, and paid back his investors. I may have the details wrong, but from this article, that was my main takeaway.
The point about damage goes to intent. Did Shkreli lie to people to take their money and make himself rich? Or did he lie to people to get a working productive business and pay off his investors? The fact that he did the latter implies his intent was the latter.
If I were an investor, I'd be upset that the initial investment failed. I'd be litigious if I realized he had lied to me. If he lied to me and returned my money with profit, I'd just stop doing business with him in the future.
It seems like both cases are fraud, it's just that one has a better outcome for the victim than suing and hoping it wasn't all spent on Wu-Tang albums.
Only a couple thousand people use Daraprim in the US. He claims 2/3rd of sales are to the USG at 1c per pill. So if there's 700 full price patients at $100K a course, that's an extra $70M on 3 trillion?
Companies were doing this before he did, and keep doing it now. So get the FDA to change or have a "dire needs" import rule or fix the system.
Oh, it is absolutely flawed and completely corrupt. It's so corrupt it's costing lives rather than just money. I'm not saying it's happening, but I wouldn't be surprised if the FDA's mandates and budget for approval aren't somehow related to keeping profits high.
- Medical malpractice insurance cost (to cover punitive damages)
- FDA approval process
all increase cost for everyone, who is 'found guilty' for that?
And what do you see public institutions of educations, from public schools to taxpayer funded universities do about that in their educational curriculum? How are children and students taught to analyze the causes of 'increasing costs'?
And what are the journalists, those 'beacons of truth' are doing in that regard? Is the coverage of those legimate reasons for higher cost getting anywhere similar of attention compared to Shkreli's?
(btw, not defending Shrkeli's actions ... have not studied this in detail, just surprised at this onesided moral outrage)
Where he went wrong is going into the healthcare space with that attitude. Shkreli thought that he didn't care about the bad PR it would bring him, but the microscope on him ended up uncovering illegal behavior.
That's all I was trying to say. Obviously this is simplistic and there are many reasons why someone might rationally be fine with being on the losing end- they might have something else better or less-risky to do with their capital, for example, or they might be a market maker that is not interested in holding anything long-term, etc.
They already increased prices. And they've made an entire clusterfuck in terms of billing codes, bureaucracy, and negotiations before ACA anyway.
Insurance company does poorly while my health improves? My rates go up.
Insurance company does well? My rates stay steady.
I had a car insurance agent tell me this exact reason today. Their underwriters simply increased the price because the company isn't doing well.
Insurance prices can't always go up. Something is going to break. And we're all going to pay a shitload of money and have a bunch of fallout either way.
I'd love to see the current health insurance situation go away - I'm an advocate of single-payer. That doesn't make Shkreli any less gross.
Sorry, I find it hard to take the word of someone who was convicted of committing fraud. Fraud that was committed before these claims were made. I guess defrauding his investors was also some 11th dimensional chess move designed to show the weakness of the financial industry, right?
Move over Jesus, we have a new martyr who suffers for our salvation.
> Find one person who got it for free
This guy got it free, for life.
It's not nothing, but it's not exactly impressive either
You know, something that looks more like a deliberate program and not a one-off.
I'm on a $10k once every three months medication, and the drug company called to offer to pay any out-of-pocket costs up to $20k/year (deductible, copay, coinsurance etc.) I might have had, regardless of income.
The med probably costs them a couple hundred dollars in manufacturing, so they're happy to pay $20k/year to get $40k/year from my insurance.
(I turned them down - I have no deductible and a $15 copay, but plenty of others aren't in that situation.)
Who died? I'm curious because if that happened, I figure we would have heard about it. Do you have a link to a story I can read?
It's well established that what he did so wantonly happens in more hushed tones as a matter of business. The lines are blurred, we find it hard to point fingers at individuals. If Skreli's actions are immoral, so are the actions of the anonymous thousands like him. This is the textbook "banality of evil", and we can see similar consequences everywhere. This seems like classic Philosophy 101 material, is it moral to raise the cost of food when someone will starve?
What a horrible police officer right? There is no coming back from this...
In all seriousness I have a hard time blaming investor who had all rights to raise the price of his own product for whatever the fuck reason he wanted to, in a democratic society and on the free market that USA supposed to be. And thenof course then there is EpiPen.
Show a single piece of evidence of that.
Isn't that part of why people claim he is a psychopath? Smart, lack of empathy, easily gains people's trust, and charm all bang on for traits for psychopathy.
He pumps a lot of money into medicine research. He gave away drugs for free to people who couldn't afford it. Neither seem particularly likely for a psychopath, and even if they are, then it's a psychopath having a net positive impact.
He is, largely, just a regular but intelligent asshole. I'm getting kinda tired of seeing "charismatic, smart, has money" == "psychopath" lately.
The Shkreli inquiry reeked of hypocrisy and grandstanding. Those congressmen knew perfectly well what was going on, and many of them receive contributions from companies involved in it.
For anyone curious, CEO of Epipen manufacturer Mylar is Heather Bresch . She is the daughter of senator Joe Manchin, who has introduced bills in the Senate to change FDA regulations to favor his daughter's company.
Remember when they questioned Toyota over unintended acceleration? That made Toyota apologize and generally made the public believe that Toyota was at fault.
Now, consider that at the time Congress questioned Toyota they were the largest shareholder in Toyota's biggest competitor (GM) and, when NASA examined the evidence, they found no issues in Toyota's products.
If you want to talk about securities fraud, that Congressional hearing should be at the top of the list.
Well they found plenty of issues. The code was unreadable. They didn't find anything that would cause unintended acceleration.
Have they introduced the Shkreli Can't Endanger those Represented by Welfare Act have they?
This was a PR stunt.
If Congress had invited him to come testify, and he'd accepted, I would have absolutely zero problems with that. But that wasn't the situation he was in -- he was forced to attend a Congressional hearing by federal subpoena, for an action that was obviously not illegal in any way.
At the least, it was a small abuse of power in exchange for a publicity stunt. At the worst, it was unlawful detainment in an attempt to intimidate.
How will society ever survive without this white knight's protection?
All pharma companies are supervillians, and they all corner supplies and jack prices, but they do it more quietly and usually a little slower. Shkreli just went to the endgame faster, and had a villain media portrait. But he is not any different and he definitely did not induce a Snowden moment. I wish he had.
Questcor on the other hand, I've never heard of. Not a very juicy story, and any juiciness is the result of Shkreli. Will it make a difference? There is a lot of money preventing it from making a difference, but it's about to become a political career killer to allow this to go on I believe. At the very least, it's in the public discourse.
Comparatively, Snowden's revelations hasn't really changed squat either. Maybe I shouldn't be so optimistic.
Ahhh, my favorite pastime, exposing hypocrisy. To do this, you have to play 47 dimensional chess. My recommended strategy for this is to defraud investors and then get rich off price-jacking pharmaceuticals. It's a proven strategy!
(Proven to get you convicted.)
In most Canadian provinces, the provincial government is the only authorized purchaser for prescribed medication. It is then sold to pharmacies and hospitals, who are in charge of distribution. (in some provinces, such as Quebec, a mix of public or private insurance will then cover most of the purchase of medication; everyone is covered by the public plan, but your employer is mandated to get a private plan if they can)
When Shkreli says "f-- Walmart" (in the Vice interview), it's horrifying, because I know a lot of people in the US who are not covered by insurance, so they buy medication at Walmart.. This is really hard to understand.
The minority party has several plans, but are still divided.
Lots of things are legal uses of taxpayer money.
Lots of things aren't illegal but are worthy of public condemnation.
The intersection of those things are EXACTLY the sorts of things I want my congress people going after.
Do you disagree, or do you just like seeing things burn?
Do you have any suggestions on how what exactly they should've done? Passed a law that says "you cannot increase the price of a drug beyond 5x" or something?
Hopefully instead of someone buying a drug that has already been released won't buy it because they can jack up the price 5000%. They would have to factor in the 10% rule when purchasing. Unfortunately this might lead to expensive release costs, but that already happens.
It might not be perfect, but 6000% increases because more yachts is a hell of a lot worse.
Sociopaths love pointing out that they only hurt you because they wanted to make you stronger.
Surely he's made his money at this point - the only thing driving his behavior is narcissism.
> For some reason, recently a number of writers seem to have taken it upon themselves to salvage Martin Shkreli’s reputation. Previously, there had been a rough consensus that Shkreli, the oily, simpering pharmaceutical executive who raised the price of HIV drugs by 5000 percent before being indicted on fraud charges, was one of the most cretinous human beings alive. This seemed utterly uncontroversial, in fact so self-evident as to render debate unnecessary. [...] But a miniature genre of article has sprung up recently: the Martin Skhreli Is Not As Bad As You Think hot take. From Vanity Fair to The Washington Post to The New Yorker, authors have issued the provocative thesis that, far from being the mealy, smirking, patronizing little snot he appears to be both at a distance and up close, Shkreli is anything from a blameless cog in a vast dysfunctional apparatus to a sweet and tender do-gooder unfairly disparaged by a society too stupid and hateful to appreciate his genius.
> And the Vice profile, while questioning a number of Shkreli’s claims and containing numerous criticisms, calls Shkreli a “finance wunderkind” and “a Horatio Alger story” and sympathetically relays Shkreli’s claim that his unapologetically money-grubbing attitude is merely an exaggerated caricature that he plays for the public to entertain himself. [...] Let’s be clear: these reporters are dupes.
> One of Shkreli’s ex-girlfriends has confirmed that he is a manipulative, psychologically abusive habitual liar with zero capacity for empathy. As she explained: It soon became obvious that Martin was a pathological liar, would pretend to cheat on me and brag about it to raise his value in my eyes, so I’d always feel like I was hanging on by a thread, could be replaced, would vie for his approval and forgiveness.
> Shkreli’s ex-girlfriend also displayed screenshots of conversations in which Shkreli offered to pay her ten thousand dollars for sex, a proposition that revolted her.
> His menacing behavior has been noted elsewhere: he has been accused of waging a harassment campaign against an ex-employee, writing in an email that “I hope to see you and your four children homeless and will do whatever I can to assure this.”
Congress is in hot water over the cost of prescription drugs and they need to do something, and something fast ... as long as that isn't actually reducing the cost of prescription drugs, because, you know, donors. Shkreli is the perfect mark, or scapegoat for this because he has been quite vocal. Consider he isn't the only one doing this. Many (donating) Pharma companies do this yet are quiet about it.
Anyway, if they take down Shkreli, congress looks like they are doing something, without actually doing anything. Notice they didn't take him down for his price gouging. Yes, that will continue to go on just as the donors planned. The masses are satisfied with their sacrifice. Carry on.
"The 13 Democrats did vote against one amendment that was intended to lower drug prices through reimportation of medicines from Canada, and they have each taken money from drugmakers."