It looks like biotech guru and greedy, all-around unpleasant fellow Martin Shkreli is finally getting his comeuppance.
Multiple media sources are reporting on Tuesday morning that Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios, has been arrested by the FBI. Sources close to the investigation say Shkreli was arrested on charges of securities fraud relating to his actions while he was CEO at biotech Retrophin. Shkreli allegedly put together a complex shell game to loot Retrophin to pay off debts at his hedge fund MSMB Capital Management.
Attorney Evan Greebel was also arrested early Thursday in New York as a co-conspirator with Shkreli in setting up the fraudulent scheme.
KaloBios (KBIO) is down more than 50% in premarket trading Thursday.
More on troubled biotech entrepreneur Martin Shkreli
Thirty-two-year-old Martin Shkreli ignited a firestorm over drug prices this fall when he increased the price of a cheap to make, off-patent drug by 5000%. His ridiculous excuses for the price increase and his refusal to back down led to a landslide of criticism about his obvious greed.
The federal case announced on Thursday is, however, not about the cost of drugs. Shkreli is charged with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc. (a biotechnology firm he founded in 2011) and using it to pay off debts at his hedge fund. He was eventually fired by Retrophin, where he was employed as CEO, and sued by the firm.
Retrophin filed a suit against Shkreli for misuse of company funds earlier this summer, pointing to numerous fraudulent transactions between investors in MSMB and the firm.
Things apparently went bad for MSMB in 2011, following a losing trade with Merrill Lynch where Shkreli cost MSMB over $7 million, leaving the fund almost broke.
Martin Shkreli is accused of making into payoff agreements with up to 10 MSMB investors who lost money after the disastrous trade in 2011. He allegedly paid investors using fake consulting agreements and others through unauthorized payments of stock and cash.
In one example of a fraudulent action, Shkreli supposedly reclassified a $900,000 equity investment that MSMB made in Retrophin as a loan. He then made Retrophin pay off that loan to pay off another party in an unrelated legal dispute.
According to knowledgeable sources, the SEC has been investigating Shkreli since 2012, and will file a parallel civil complaint against him within a few weeks. Charges will be announced on Thursday at noon Eastern Standard Time.
More on Martin Shrekli
Shkreli began his career as an intern for “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer at the tender age of 19. Following a few profitable trade recommendations, Shkreli launched his own hedge fund, and it did not take long for him to develop an unsavory reputation for trashing biotechnology stocks in online chatrooms and shorting them to make profits
Although he is admired for his intellect and sharp eye, and is self-taught in biology and medicine, like many high-strung types, he obviously has some serious emotional issues to deal with. Shrekli also launched his firm Retrophin to develop drugs and acquire pharmaceuticals that could be sold for higher profits.
His other firm Turing has raised $90 million in financing, and has followed a similar strategy with the purchase of older drugs, including the controversial Daraprim.
Of note, Shkreli also recently purchased a majority stake in KaloBios Pharmaceuticals.