Martin Shkreli Charged with Securities Fraud
On December 17, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Martin Shkreli, former CEO of pharmaceutical company Retrophin, with committing fraud during a 5-year period when he also was working as a hedge fund manager. He is notoriously known for raising the cost of the antiparasitic drug Daraprim and raising its price by 5,556 percent.
The SEC alleges that Martin Shkreli misappropriated money from two hedge funds he founded and made material misrepresentations to investors among other widespread misconduct. The SEC also charged Retrophin’s former outside counsel and corporate secretary Evan Greebel with aiding and abetting certain aspects of Shkreli’s alleged fraud.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal district court in Brooklyn:
- Shkreli was portfolio manager for the hedge fund MSMB Capital Management LP from October 2009 to March 2014, and also served as portfolio manager of another hedge fund he founded and controlled named MSMB Healthcare LP.
- Shkreli misappropriated about $120,000 from MSMB Capital Management from October 2009 to July 2011 to unlawfully pay for food, clothing, medical expenses, clothing, office rent, and cash withdrawals.
- Shkreli misled investors and prospective investors in MSMB Capital Management about the fund’s size and performance, claiming for example in July 2010 to have “returned +35.77% since inception on 11/1/2009.” In fact, the fund generated losses of about 18 percent.
- In another example, Shkreli falsely stated in December 2010 that the fund had $35 million in assets under management. In fact, the fund had less than $1,000 in assets in its bank and brokerage accounts.
- Shkreli lied to one of MSMB Capital Management’s executing brokers in February 2011 about the fund’s ability to settle a sizeable short sale in a pharmaceutical stock in MSMB Capital Management’s account. This transaction resulted in losses of more than $7 million to the executing broker who had to cover the short position in the open market.
- Shkreli misappropriated $900,000 from MSMB Healthcare in 2013 to settle claims asserted by MSMB Capital Management’s executing broker arising out of the losses suffered in the short selling transaction.
- From September 2013 to March 2014, Shkreli, with assistance from Greebel, fraudulently induced Retrophin to issue stock and make cash payments to certain disgruntled investors in Shkreli’s hedge funds who were threatening legal action.
- Shkreli and Greebel had investors enter into agreements with Retrophin misleadingly stating the payments were for consulting services when in fact the purpose was the release of potential claims against Shkreli.
The SEC’s complaint charges Shkreli with violating Sections 17(a)(1) and 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rules 10b-5 and 10b-21. He also is charged with violating Sections 206(1), 206(2), and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206(4)-8. Greebel is charged with aiding and abetting Shkreli’s violations of Exchange Act Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5. Two Shkreli-owned entities that served as investment advisers to the hedge funds, MSMB Capital Management LLC and MSMB Healthcare Management LLC, are charged with violations of the antifraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act, and Shkreli is charged with aiding and abetting those violations.
For further information about this securities law blog post, please contact Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney at 101 Plaza Real S, Suite 202 N, Boca Raton, Florida, (561) 416-8956, by email at [email protected] or visit www.securitieslawyer101.com. This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as, and does not constitute legal advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.
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Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney
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