Martin Shkreli: Time…Well Spent?

Dante Vitoria's Dante's Inferno
By Dante Vitoria October 10, 2017

Who is Martin Shkreli? He is a pharmaceutical CEO, a successful capitalist, a market manipulator, a hedge fund swindler, and now, a convicted felon.

Shkreli, or Inmate #87850-053, faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in federal prison for securities fraud. Is he guilty of the crime? Did he receive a fair trial, or was he convicted in the court of public opinion before he could even plead his case?  Those are question beyond my expertise, so I’m not going to comment or speculate.

What I will discuss, however, is what Shkreli is doing with this time as he awaits his sentencing. More importantly, I want to talk about why he’s doing what he’s doing.

According to Lisa Whisnant, Shkreli’s prison “pen pal,” Shkreli spends his days at MDC Brooklyn (Metropolitan Detention Center) reading, meditating, and playing chess and basketball with his fellow inmates. He even teaches a class to the inmates studying for their GED.

You may think these are very noble ways to pass the time, but in my opinion, it’s all a major league scam – one of many in his long line of cons, misstatements, falsehood and blatant lies.

Martin Shkreli is an expert at this type of behavior. After all, he’s been doing it most of his life.

His good behavior is a stunt of monumental proportions. Though Shkreli certainly doesn’t need help deceiving others I’m confident his attorney, the illustrious Benjamin Brafman, helped choreograph his recent saintly deeds before climbing back under his rock. Remember, rats travel in packs.

So, what is the motive?  Simple.

Shkreli is positing himself as a good guy. He even claims that he is a life coach for his fellow inmates, giving ‘a gangster a shoulder to cry on.’ Let’s be honest, if a real ‘gangster’ is crying on Shkreli’s shoulder, he is most likely picking his pocket at the same time.

Shkreli also wrote that he’s cramped and uncomfortable in his cell. It’s difficult for him to get a good night’s rest. These are funny words coming from the guy who boasted in an online post that he would chill at “Club Fed,” and be out in a few months. And let us not forget the $5,000 bounty for a strand of Hilary Clinton’s hair.


Now, Shkreli writes to Lisa for support. He’s asked her for copies of self-help books, such as The 48 Laws of Power, and Who Moved My Cheese? When Ms. Whisnant initially wrote to Shkreli, asking him for his side of the story, he offered excuses. The insurance companies expected to overpay for the drugs! The pharmaceutical companies took the extra money from the insurance companies and put it back into research and development! He even assured Whisnant that he offered Medicaid recipients the drugs for “dirt cheap.”

How noble of Shkreli!

I know what you’re thinking – if Lisa Whisnant believes him, she must be a Mensa member. Well, it is apparent that she does indeed believe him, as she and Shkreli have been in contact ever since.

One thing is for sure – Martin Shkreli is not a dope. In fact, he may be an evil genius. He stole millions. He manipulated. He swindled. And he continues to do so, even with the media.

Let’s hope this convicted felon’s lucky number is twenty, as in twenty years in “Club Fed.”

Dante Vitoria is the Founder and CEO of The Vitoria Group in New York City.


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