Photograph from The Hill
Dear Mr. President and the rubber-stamping-yes-men that collude with you,
You’d better steel yourselves. The American people are not letting white collar criminals off the hook anymore. And judges are no longer allowing grown men to behave like adolescents, or toddlers throwing a temper tantrum, without consequence.
Martin Shkreli was found guilty of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud by a jury in August. Yesterday, he was sentenced to seven years in prison by Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto, who cited his “egregious multitude of lies” and the fact that “he ‘repeatedly minimized’ his conduct, including in statements and emails after his conviction.” Moreover, Shkreli was fined $75,000 and must forfeit $7.36 million of his net worth.
First of all, this is a prime example of the pot calling the kettle black, Mr. “I need more ice cream than everyone else” and “watch me double down on uninformed, racist comments about Charlottesville.”
But more importantly, Shkreli is a man in his mid-30s. In other words, he’s an adult who should know better than to lie, cheat and steal, and who deserves to be punished for doing it. Seven years is a long time, longer than a presidential term of office. And, like you, Shkreli isn’t known for his good judgment or self-control. Less than a month after his guilty verdict, he offered a $5,000 bounty for one of Hillary Clinton’s hairs, spurring Judge Matsumoto to revoke his bail and plop him in jail where he stayed until his sentencing.
This should give you pause, Mr. President, because the two of you have so much in common. Like you, Shkreli made his fortune profiting off the backs of regular, working Americans. You routinely “renege on contracts, refuse to pay, or consistently attempt to change payment terms after the work is complete,” ultimately “wag[ing] Goliath vs David legal battles over small amounts of money that are negligible to [a] billionaire and his executives – but devastating to his much smaller foes.” Similarly, Shkreli is “best known for raising the price of a drug … by 5,000 percent.” Yet like you, Shkreli “wants everyone to believe that he is a genius….He can’t just be an average person who fails, like the rest of us.” Like you, he is enamored with social media, even “live-streaming and tweeting throughout his five-week trial.” Like you, he disrespects and casts aspersions on those brave enough to speak truth to power. For instance, Shkreli was caught “making faces during testimony [and] calling the prosecution junior varsity.” And, very much like you, he likes to play the victim. Shkreli claimed his prosecution “was a witch hunt of epic proportions.”
And watch out, you rubber-stamping yes-men, because it’s not just Trump who should be worried. Shkreli’s former lawyer, Evan Greebel, was also caught up in his scheme and convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. Like you, Greebel committed his crimes in the process of standing by his man (boss). But according to the prosecutor, “By helping … Shkreli steal millions of dollars and cover up Shkreli’s fraud, the defendant Evan Greebel betrayed the trust placed in him … to represent the company’s best interests.” Likewise, toeing the presidential line betrays the trust the American people have placed in you.
Trump Cronies, are you getting the message yet?