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The Feds Want Martin Shkreli's Secret Wu-Tang Album

As well as a bunch of other bizarre rich-people shit, per a new court document.
Photo by Bobby Viteri.

When a federal court found pharma bro Martin Shkreli guilty in August, it had nothing to do with jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug. Instead, they decided he had lied to some rich people so they would give him tons of money to invest, lose, and ultimately get back. It was a bit of an unsatisfying conclusion to the story of the "most hated man in America"—one that seemingly united the whole country in outrage for the entirety of 2016.


American will have to wait and see how long the pharma bro spends behind bars for securities fraud—his sentencing won't happen until January. But in the meantime, people itching to see Shkreli squirm were given an early Christmas present in the form of a court document filed on November 30. In it, an FBI agent outlines how the government plans to recuperate the $7,360,450 he obtained through criminal means.

The agent was unable to locate any funds from the period in which Shkreli's crimes took place. Instead, he pointed to some of the assets that the disgraced executive has flaunted in the media as things that could be seized in forfeiture. Those of course include the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which was famously purchased for $2 million. Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V, which was purchased in December, also made the list.

Two other prized possessions of Shkreli's are also in the government's crosshairs: a Picasso painting and an enigma machine, which code-breakers used in WWII. When VICE spent time with Shkreli before his trial, the painting was on the floor of his Murray Hill apartment, and the war relic was in the lobby of his office at Turing Pharmaceuticals. The feds are also interested in any of the shares he has left in that company.

It's unclear if Shkreli still owns the Wu-Tang album, which sold on Ebay for about $1 million in September. A federal judge revoked his bail around the same time for offering a bounty on a piece of Hillary Clinton's hair. It hasn't been reported if Once Upon a Time in Shaolin ever shipped to the buyer.

In response to the order of forfeiture, Shkreli's legal team is sticking to the same story it told at trial—one where fraud can't be committed if the swindled people make money in the end.

"We will vigorously oppose the government motion," Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told Bloomberg in an email. "Our position is clear. None of the investors lost any money and Martin did not personally benefit from any of the counts of conviction. Accordingly, forfeiture of any assets is not an appropriate remedy."

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