Mr. Contradictions 2: Martin Shkreli Faces Justice over Fraud Charges
Just when he couldn’t find himself in more trouble, Martin Shkreli faced charges of securities and wire fraud. What is still lost on most of the populace is the virtue of ensuring that his investors see a profit. The main purpose of running a successful enterprise is to secure enough funds for those who backed you and to earn a significant share in the process. For not being greedy, for not being selfish Shkreli may suffer the fate of other fraudsters. He just may be the Mini-Madoff. His long-term goals of making his own life better received little attention compared to the range of the moment decisions that Shkreli has made allegedly. His $5 million bond that he posted reflects the severity of the charges. If he is found guilty of any of them, he can expect prison time and hefty fines.
An appreciator of the hip hop genre, it appears that he has latched onto the twisted idealism espoused by rappers. He has hijacked, allegedly, the trust of his investors in the same way that early rap artists “jacked” other artists for their beats. He even purchased the Wu-Tang album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. He even attempted to bail out rapper Ackquille Jean "Bobby Shmurda" Pollard. What a reversal of fortunes. The one who would put up bail for one young man of color now has bonded himself out of jail. But the public’s assessment of Shkreli is far more sinister. Most people probably feel that this is retribution for his past notorious “sin” of raising a drug price more than 4000%. Their opinions remain grounded in the altruist claim Shkreli should have kept the drug Daraprim at lower price. This negates the facts that the research and development involved the money from his investors. Both of these factors and more go into running a successful business. Shkreli has stated clearly that he is not “greedy.” This is apparent. If he lead a greedy, selfish existence he wouldn’t have had to explain away his choice to increase prices, lie to and swindle his investors, and now live with the ignominy of having been a selfless, puny financial figure.
Swift Hand of Justice
A backwards figure, Shkreli exemplifies the sacrificial figure which gave up his values in service of lies and deceit. Now, as he stepped down from his post as chief executive officer (CEO) of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Shkreli will have to face the swift hand of justice. What could have been a bright and promising career in the prescription drug business now seems like a nightmare that Shkreli brought upon himself. For not considering the long-term concern for himself, he is now forced to deal with the outcome of his shady business dealings.
But the worst part of this whole case is that people attack Shkreli not for his fraudulent behavior, but for his alleged greed and selfishness. The derision ought to be reserved for the fact that he cheated investors out of money. That’s the financial sector. In pharmaceuticals, by raising the drug price, Shkreli made a sage move to generate funds to support R&D. For this he deserves the highest of praises and should be well applauded. Yet, at the same time, the suspected Ponzi scheme fiasco erases any accolades that may have been attributed to his name. As smug and seemingly self-assured as he was prior to being taken to jail, such characteristics dropped from his demeanor as he accepted his charges. The virtues of honesty and pride actually never surfaced in Shkreli. He appears to be a scared little boy frustrated with his inability to connect with others in a rational, trader-like sense. He saw the pile of money, refused to think, and felt that he had a right to it. Greed and capitalistic gain did not bring down Shkreli. His selflessness and inability to recognize the facts of reality ultimately caused him to tumble from his position as CEO. Where men and women who pain over, study, devise, and plan for success, Shkreli believed that getting at those dollars required him to lie and cheat. Certainly, he didn’t sit down and design how he would corrupt himself and delude his investors and clients. He simply cast reason and self-interest aside and decided to swindle those who made for ideal traders. His downfall could have been a windfall if he had just played the game with righteous intent. Young CEO’s with fresh faces and brighter minds ought to take Shkreli as a cautionary tale. They ought not base their system of conducting business on a loser, but occasionally, they ought to remind themselves and attack his negativity to accentuate the positive.