Martin Shkreli To Learn a Hard Lesson?

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Martin Shkreli To Learn a Hard Lesson?

December 17, 2015

Martin Shkreli — the professional rent seeker to who fancies himself as some sort of entrepreneur — has been arrested on fraud charges. I'm no fan of Shkreli who uses government thugs to do his dirty work, but when the tables are turned on Shkreli, I'm forced to sympathize with the private citizen over the government prosecutors. 

Has Shkreli defrauded anyone? Maybe. But maybe not, and this may be just the latest case of the Feds going after a celebrity for PR purposes. “Fraud” as defined by federal prosecutors, is very often nothing of the sort. That was the case with Martha Stewart, after all, who was never convicted of anything except the non-crimes of making false statements and “obstruction.” 

Shkreli, of course, is a “celebrity” because he enjoys making headlines for being famously callous, classless, and uncharitable. He's welcome to do those things, as long as he's not doing it on my dime, but he should also consider that making one's self into a public villain attracts the attention of government prosecutors. 

Shkreli's schtick is to act like he's just too awesome for everybody and doesn't care what anybody thinks. He may attempt to do that with the current Federal charges against him, but if he thinks he can outspend or outlast Federal prosecutors, he may be in for a surprise. Mark Cuban, who managed to muster up enough of his billions to fight a federal charge, is very much the exception. As William Anderson has shown, the Federal judiciary is so biased against private citizens that there's usually no escape even for the meekly innocent. 

Shkreli likes to show off his millions and talk about how much richer he is than ordinary people. But is Shkreli rich enough and influential enough to fight a Federal government with virtually endless amounts of resources? In the American justice system, “justice” often depends on how much money you can throw at the court. Does Shkreli have more money than federal prosecutors? He's about to find out. 

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

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