Convicted felon and alleged human being Martin Shkreli is back in the news.
Shkreli earned national infamy for drug profiteering. As CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, he acquired an anti-parasite medication called Daraprim and immediately increased the price from roughly $13.50 to $750. Daraprim treats toxoplasmosis, which kills people with weakened immune systems. Like people with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy. The parasite Toxoplasmosis gondii lives inside of one-third of all people, in little cysts that go unnoticed because they are quarantined in our brains and livers by our immune systems. When our immune systems weaken, though, the parasite is escapes quarantine and attacks the brain and eyes of its host, resulting in blindness, seizures, and loss of cognitive faculties. One study found that toxoplasmosis encephalitis affected 25 percent of AIDS patients, of which it killed 84 percent. Daraprim very effectively treats toxoplasmosis. If you can afford it.
Shkreli’s unrepentant greed made him the poster boy for the evils of Big Pharma.
But it turned out Shkreli’s evil extended beyond drug profiteering. He was busted for securities fraud, and convicted on three of the eight counts: securities fraud in connection with his hedge fund MSMB Capital; securities fraud in connection with MSMB Healthcare; and conspiracy to commit securities fraud related to a stock scheme, in which he tried to secretly control a huge portion of Retrophin stock, a corporation he founded.
Shkreli is out on bail pending sentencing. You’d think he’d be on his best behavior. You’d be wrong.
Instead, Shkreli purchased the domain names of journalists who had written articles about him that he didn’t like. And then attacked those journalists using those domains. Something like a dozen, total.
In addition to badgering the journalists who had written about him, he attempted to extort money from them. In a public Facebook post, Shkreli has offered to sell to Emily Saul, a reporter for the New York Post, the domain for $12,000. It’s patent cybersquatting. Shkreli is betting that his victims would rather pay him than pay a lawyer to sue under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
Shkreli’s problem – well, one of his problems – is that he didn’t consider how the sentencing judge might react to the bullying tactics. Federal judges are permitted to consider post-conviction conduct.
But Shkreli’s conduct has been bizarre throughout his 15 minutes of fame. He has live-streamed himself during trial and immediately after the jury’s verdict. The cybersquatting seems to be just another example of Shkreli’s aberrational behavior. It will be interesting to see if the public portions of the pre-sentencing report includes a psychological evaluation. And, if so, what it concludes. Because from WC’s viewpoint, there’s a serious lack of impulse control and an utter lack of empathy. Which are indications of a sociopath.
And, apparently, don’t bar you from being POTUS.