NEW YORK – On July 27, the United States sold the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, aka the Album, which had previously been ordered to be forfeited as a substitute asset in connection with the approximately $7.4 million forfeiture money judgment entered against Martin Shkreli at his March 2018 sentencing. Proceeds from the sale of the Album will be applied to satisfy the outstanding balance owed on the forfeiture money judgment. The contract of sale contains a confidentiality provision that protects information relating to the buyer and price, ensuring that neither the identity of the buyer nor the sum accepted is made public.
Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sale of the Album. Shkreli, the so-called “Pharma Bro,” is believed to have paid $2 million for the 31-track album in 2015.
“Through the diligent and persistent efforts of this office and its law enforcement partners, Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself. With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Kasulis. Ms. Kasulis acknowledged the significant efforts of the U.S. Marshals Service and, in particular, the work of the U.S. Marshals Service’s Office of General Counsel and the Complex Asset Unit of the agency’s Asset Forfeiture Division, as well as assistance provided by the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch.
Shkreli was the founder and managing member of hedge funds MSMB Capital Management LP and MSMB Healthcare Management LP and the former Chief Executive Officer of Retrophin Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company. Following a six-week trial in federal court in Brooklyn, Shkreli was convicted in August 2017 of two counts of securities fraud and one count of securities fraud conspiracy for orchestrating a series of schemes to defraud investors in the hedge funds and to manipulate the price and trading volume of Retrophin’s stock.
United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto sentenced Shkreli to seven years’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years’ supervised release, and ordered him to pay the forfeiture money judgment of approximately $388,000 in restitution and a $75,000 fine. Judge Matsumoto also ordered Shkreli to forfeit the Album and other substitute assets to satisfy the forfeiture judgment.
Shkreli’s conviction and sentence were affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in July 2019. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of Shkreli’s request for further review of his conviction and sentence, the government seized the Album and other assets owed by Shkreli.
At the time Shkreli purchased the Album in 2015, it was marketed as “both a work of art and an audio artifact.” The Album includes a hand-carved nickel-silver box as well as a leather-bound manuscript containing lyrics and a certificate of authenticity. The Album is subject to various restrictions, including those relating to the duplication of its sound recordings. In September 2017, just weeks after his conviction but before the district court-imposed forfeiture, Shkreli attempted to sell the Album through an on-line auction.
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