This morning, pharma troll Martin Shkreli was arrested on charges of securities fraud at his home in Manhattan.
The case actually has little to do with his decision to raise life-saving drugs by hundreds of dollars, which is how most people first became acquainted with him.
Rather, feds allege Shkreli set up something like a Ponzi scheme to settle losses he racked up while running a series of hedge funds.
Shkreli's lawyer Evan Greebel was also arrested in the probe. Spokeswomen for Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP where Greebel worked during the time in question, and Kaye Scholer, where he works now, declined comment, according to Bloomberg. Reuters reports Shkreli has denied the allegations.
In a criminal complaint published by Bloomberg, we get some revealing details about Shkreli's purported investing habits. If the allegations are true, he is a pretty terrible at investing.
Here are the facts laid out by the grand jury indictment, signed by Robert Capers, a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn: from September 2009 to December 2012, Shkreli ran a hedge fund called MSMB Capital. He managed to attract a handful of investors to the fund. But, among other charges, the feds say Shkreli failed to disclose to those investors that he'd already lost all the money he managed at a fund he set up in his early 20s:
None of the investors appear to have noticed anything was amiss. In 2010, an investor inquired about putting funds into MSMB. Shkreli told him the fund had lots of capital, and was fully transparent. Prosecutors say that was a lie.
As a result of these alleged misrepresentations, the investor, whose identity is not revealed, put more than $1 million into the fund. Prosecutors say the fund continued to bleed money—especially after Shkreli botched a short sale of a biotech stock:
Instead of telling investors about the losses, Shkreli allegedly kept lying to them through 2012.
Finally, Shkreli was forced to close down MSMB after a $1 million settlement with Merrill Lynch, the brokerage through which he'd attempted the biotech short. "Notably, in the settlement agreement, SHKRELI… admitted that MSMB Capital had $0 in assets," the indictment says.
But, apparently, even the settlement didn't stop him. In February 2011, he set up MSMB Healthcare, and began soliciting more investors, without telling them what had happened to MSMB Capital, according to the indictment. He allegedly lied about his past performance, which the prosecutor calls "disastrous"…
…and also how much the new fund had in assets under management.
Prosecutors say he even lied to the Securities and Exchange Commission after they began inquiring about his assets.
Shkreli eventually set up a third business called Retrophin LLC. This, too, managed to attract assets, but Shkreli allegedly used most of them to satisfy debts and obligations from his past activities. At one point an accountant apparently began to notice things were pretty weird at the fund. In an email exchange, he or she summed things up accordingly:
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.