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Martin Shkreli may have to give up Wu-Tang album as part of fraud conviction

By | Published on Tuesday 6 March 2018

Martin Shkreli

Convicted fraudster and all round jerk Martin Shkreli – who still counts as music news because of him buying that Wu-Tang album – might have to give up that Wu-Tang album in order to pay a $7.36 million fine in relation to his fraud conviction.

Shkreli rose to fame, of course, after buying the rights to a life-saving AIDS drug and massively increasing the price. He then dabbled with some music investments before being charged and later convicted for fraud in relation to some of his business ventures.

His music dabblings included buying the one and only copy made available of Wu-Tang Clan’s 2015 album ‘Once Upon a Time In Shaolin’. It was a purchase that set him back $2 million and resulted in some light feuding with certain members of the hip hop collective.

Last year Shkreli, then on bail awaiting sentencing in relation to the fraud conviction, put the Wu-Tang album up for sale on eBay. According to the auction site, it sold for $1,025,100.00. But shortly after the supposed sale Shkreli was jailed after making some bizarre posts about Hillary Clinton on social media.

The ownership status of the album then remained unclear. One of the people who had been bidding subsequently told HipHopDX that he had been approached by lawyers working for Shkreli, who were still taking bids even after the eBay auction had closed. That suggested that no deal to sell the one-off record had actually been reached.

Either way, when a judge this week listed assets that a supposedly cash-broke Shkreli may need to hand over to satisfy the $7.36 million fine, it included the Wu-Tang album. Along with equity in Shkreli’s drugs company, a Picasso painting, and a copy of Lil Wayne’s never released ‘The Carter V’ album he somehow got his hands on. Oh, and the $5 million in cash sitting in an E-Trade brokerage account that Shkreli previously used to secure bail.

The fine Shkreli must pay to the US government is in addition to “the resolution of any third-party claims” by victims of his fraudulent activity. Though the judge overseeing the case put off actually seizing assets until the conclusion of Shkreli’s planned appeal of his fraud conviction.

In addition to wrangling over monies, there is also the matter of Shkreli’s prison sentence in relation to that conviction. His lawyers are pushing for twelve to eighteen months. But prosecutors could push for a much longer sentence. Like, a decades long sentence. Which would probably put losing ownership of a Wu-Tang album into perspective. Especially given that chatter last year questioning whether it really was a Wu-Tang album.