Nxivm trial hears of debauchery and cruelty within alleged ‘sex cult’

Slave master Lauren Salzman says of Keith Rainiere, 58, accused of sex trafficking and other charges: He was my mentor

A top” slave master” in the alleged sexuality cult Nxivm said in testimony on Friday she herself was sexually and psychologically enslaved by Keith Raniere, the sole defendant in a sex-trafficking trial that has produced a rolled tableau of alleged debauchery and cruelty.

Such was Raniere’s control over his adherents, Lauren Salzman said, they came to accept claims about his ability to control the weather or to disable electronics. It was rumoured, she said, that Raniere could stroll through a rain shower without getting wet.

” He would say that his technology was acting up and that he had these types of problems ,” Salzman witnessed.” That it was something special about him. That it was his energy. His impact on the world countries .”

Nxivm, pronounced “Nexium”, operated in New York country and was ostensibly devoted to wellness and personal developing. Within it, however, there was allegedly an inner organisation of ” masters” and “slaves” devoted to Raniere’s sex gratification.

Raniere, 58, was arrested in March 2018. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy, identity stealing, extortion, forced labor, money laundering, wire fraud and sex trafficking. In federal court in Brooklyn on Friday, he watched impassively as prosecutors questioned a former senior aide.

Lauren Salzman, daughter of the group co-founder Nancy Salzman, said that for many years Raniere, who was known to followers as Vanguard or sometimes Grandmaster, was the most important person in her life.

” He was my mentor ,” she said.” School teachers. We had a romantic relationship. A physical and sexual relationship .”

Salzman said the relationship began when she was 21, in 1995. Over time, she said, she became a member of a secret society within Nxivm known as ” DOS” which arranged adherents into a hierarchical order of “masters” and “slaves”, focused on sex obedience to Raniere. Salzman said she was a” first-line slave” who answered directly to the leader.

” I was a slave with Keith as my master ,” Salzman said.” I had other slaves under me .”

Jurors were proven photographs of women ” branded” with Raniere’s initials. Group member Marc Vicente testified that the pictures were kept in an online folder created by the actor Allison Mack, a group member. DOS members were allegedly warned that if they broke with or irritated Raniere, the pictures would be released to families and the press.

Salzman testified that when Raniere could not attend DOS meetings, she and other women were directed toward take nude photographs of themselves and send them to him.

When Raniere was present, she said, followers would strip naked and sit on the floor in front of him while he held tribunal, fully clothed, describing objectives and projects such as a volume or a new dungeon.

Over the course of their 17 -year relationship, she said, Raniere took closeup photographs of her genitalia and forced her into threesomes with other alleged slaves, including Mack.

” Initially, I participated because I was curious ,” she said. Later, she said, she participated because” he wanted that “.

Prosecutors have repeatedly sought to describe Raniere’s hold over his adherents. Witnesses have testified that adherence to his wants often came with strict weight-control guidelines. Saltzman told jurors Raniere gave her a target of 100 lb.

Vicente told the court he had grown concerned about Mack’s weight loss. Raniere’s matter-of-fact reply, he said, was:” Well, I’m trying to break her .”

Salzman and co-defendants including her mother, who was known as ” Prefect”, Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman and Mack have pleaded guilty to crimes ranging from visa fraud to racketeering. Vicente testified that Bronfman, an important group benefactor, was once forced to wear a jock strap, for misbehaving.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Nxivm trial hears of debauchery and brutality within alleged ‘sex cult’

Slave master Lauren Salzman says of Keith Rainiere, 58, accused of sex trafficking and other charges: He was my mentor

A top” slave master” in the alleged sex cult Nxivm said in witnes on Friday she herself was sexually and psychologically enslaved by Keith Raniere, the sole defendant in a sex-trafficking trial that has rendered a rolled tableau of alleged debauchery and cruelty.

Such was Raniere’s control over his adherents, Lauren Salzman said, they came to accept claims about his ability to control the weather or to disable electronics. It was rumoured, she said, that Raniere could stroll through a rain shower without get wet.

” He would say that his technology was acting up and that he had these types of problems ,” Salzman testified.” That it was something special about him. That it was his energy. His impact on the world .”

Nxivm, pronounced “Nexium”, operated in New York country and was ostensibly devoted to wellness and personal developing. Within it, however, there was allegedly an inner organisation of ” masters” and “slaves” devoted to Raniere’s sexual gratification.

Raniere, 58, was arrested in March 2018. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy, identity stealing, extortion, forced labor, money laundering, wire fraud and sex trafficking. In federal court in Brooklyn on Friday, he watched impassively as attorneys questioned a former senior aide.

Lauren Salzman, daughter of the group co-founder Nancy Salzman, said that for many years Raniere, who was known to followers as Vanguard or sometimes Grandmaster, was the most important person in her life.

” He was my mentor ,” she said.” My teacher. We had a romantic relationship. A physical and sexual relationship .”

Salzman said the relationship began when she was 21, in 1995. Over time, she said, she became a member of a secret society within Nxivm known as ” DOS” which arranged adherents into a hierarchical order of “masters” and “slaves”, focused on sex obedience to Raniere. Salzman said she was a” first-line slave” who answered immediately to the leader.

” I was a slave with Keith as my master ,” Salzman said.” I had other slaves under me .”

Jurors were depicted photographs of women ” branded” with Raniere’s initials. Group member Marc Vicente testified that the pictures were kept in an online folder created by the actor Allison Mack, a group member. DOS members were allegedly warned that if they violate with or annoyed Raniere, the pictures would be released to households and the press.

Salzman testified that when Raniere could not attend DOS meetings, she and other women were directed to take nude photographs of themselves and send them to him.

When Raniere was present, she said, followers would strip naked and sit on the floor in front of him while he held tribunal, fully clothed, describing goals and projects such as a book or a new dungeon.

Over the course of their 17 -year relationship, she said, Raniere took closeup photographs of her genitalia and forced her into threesomes with other alleged slaves, including Mack.

” Initially, I participated because I was curious ,” she said. Later, she said, she participated because” he wanted that “.

Prosecutors have repeatedly sought to describe Raniere’s hold over his adherents. Witnesses have testified that adherence to his wishings often came with strict weight-control guidelines. Saltzman told jurors Raniere dedicated her a target of 100 lb.

Vicente told the court he had grown concerned about Mack’s weight loss. Raniere’s matter-of-fact reply, he said, was:” Well, I’m trying to break her .”

Salzman and co-defendants including her mother, who was known as ” Prefect”, Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman and Mack have pleaded guilty to crimes ranging from visa fraud to racketeering. Vicente testified that Bronfman, an important group benefactor, was once forced to wear a jock strap, for misbehaving.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Nxivm trial hears of debauchery and brutality within alleged ‘sex cult’

Slave master Lauren Salzman says of Keith Rainiere, 58, accused of sex trafficking and other charges: He was my mentor

A top” slave master” in the alleged sex cult Nxivm said in evidence on Friday she herself was sexually and psychologically enslaved by Keith Raniere, the sole defendant in a sex-trafficking trial that has made a rolling tableau of alleged debauchery and cruelty.

Such was Raniere’s control over his adherents, Lauren Salzman said, they came to accept claims about his ability to control the weather or to disable electronics. It was rumoured, she said, that Raniere could stroll through a rain shower without getting wet.

” He would say that his technology was acting up and that he had these types of problems ,” Salzman witnessed.” That it was something special about him. That it was his energy. His impact on the world .”

Nxivm, pronounced “Nexium”, operated in New York nation and was ostensibly devoted to wellness and personal growth. Within it, however, there was allegedly an inner organisation of ” masters” and “slaves” devoted to Raniere’s sexual gratification.

Raniere, 58, was arrested in March 2018. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy, identity stealing, extortion, forced labor, fund laundering, wire fraud and sex trafficking. In federal tribunal in Brooklyn on Friday, he watched impassively as prosecutors questioned a former senior aide.

Lauren Salzman, daughter of the group co-founder Nancy Salzman, said that for many years Raniere, who was known to followers as Vanguard or sometimes Grandmaster, was the most important person in her life.

” He was my mentor ,” she said.” My teacher. We had a romantic relationship. A physical and sexual relationship .”

Salzman said the relationship began when she was 21, in 1995. Over time, she said, she became a member of a secret society within Nxivm known as ” DOS” which arranged adherents into a hierarchical order of “masters” and “slaves”, focused on sexual obedience to Raniere. Salzman said she was a” first-line slave” who answered immediately to the leader.

” I was a slave with Keith as my master ,” Salzman said.” I had other slaves under me .”

Jurors were indicated photographs of women ” branded” with Raniere’s initials. Group member Marc Vicente testified that the pictures were kept in an online folder created by the actor Allison Mack, a group member. DOS members were allegedly warned that if they transgress with or annoyed Raniere, the pictures would be released to households and the press.

Salzman testified that when Raniere could not attend DOS sessions, she and other women were directed to take nude photographs of themselves and send them to him.

When Raniere was present, she said, followers would strip naked and sit on the floor in front of him while he held tribunal, fully clothed, describing aims and projects such as a book or a new dungeon.

Over the course of their 17 -year relationship, she said, Raniere took closeup photographs of her genitalia and forced her into threesomes with other alleged slaves, including Mack.

” Initially, I participated because I was curious ,” she said. Later, she said, she participated because” he wanted that “.

Prosecutors have repeatedly sought to describe Raniere’s hold over his adherents. Witnesses have testified that adherence to his wishes often came with strict weight-control guidelines. Saltzman told jurors Raniere dedicated her a target of 100 lb.

Vicente told the court he had grown concerned about Mack’s weight loss. Raniere’s matter-of-fact reply, he said, was:” Well, I’m trying to break her .”

Salzman and co-defendants including her mother, who was known as ” Prefect”, Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman and Mack have pleaded guilty to crimes ranging from visa fraud to racketeering. Vicente testified that Bronfman, an important group benefactor, was once forced to wear a jock strap, for misbehaving.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Nxivm trial hears of debauchery and brutality within alleged ‘sex cult’

Slave master Lauren Salzman says of Keith Rainiere, 58, accused of sex trafficking and other charges: He was my mentor

A top” slave master” in the alleged sexuality cult Nxivm said in witnes on Friday she herself was sexually and psychologically enslaved by Keith Raniere, the sole defendant in a sex-trafficking trial that has created a rolling tableau of alleged debauchery and cruelty.

Such was Raniere’s control over his followers, Lauren Salzman said, they came to accept claims about his ability to control the weather or to disable electronics. It was rumoured, she said, that Raniere could stroll through a rain shower without get wet.

” He would say that his technology was acting up and that he had these types of problems ,” Salzman testified.” That it was something special about him. That it was his energy. His impact on the world .”

Nxivm, pronounced “Nexium”, operated in New York country and was ostensibly devoted to wellness and personal development. Within it, however, there was allegedly an inner organisation of ” masters” and “slaves” devoted to Raniere’s sexual gratification.

Raniere, 58, was arrested in March 2018. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy, identity stealing, extortion, forced labor, fund laundering, wire fraud and sex trafficking. In federal tribunal in Brooklyn on Friday, he watched impassively as prosecutors questioned a former senior aide.

Lauren Salzman, daughter of the group co-founder Nancy Salzman, said that for many years Raniere, who was known to followers as Vanguard or sometimes Grandmaster, was the most important person in her life.

” He was my mentor ,” she said.” School teachers. We had a romantic relationship. A physical and sexual relationship .”

Salzman said the relationship began when she was 21, in 1995. Over time, she said, she became a member of a secret society within Nxivm known as ” DOS” which arranged adherents into a hierarchical order of “masters” and “slaves”, focused on sex obedience to Raniere. Salzman said she was a” first-line slave” who answered directly to the leader.

” I was a slave with Keith as my master ,” Salzman said.” I had other slaves under me .”

Jurors were presented photographs of women ” branded” with Raniere’s initials. Group member Marc Vicente testified that the pictures were kept in an online folder created by the actor Allison Mack, a group member. DOS members were allegedly warned that if they transgress with or irritated Raniere, the pictures would be released to families and the press.

Salzman testified that when Raniere could not attend DOS meetings, she and other women were directed to take nude photographs of themselves and send them to him.

When Raniere was present, she said, followers would strip naked and sit on the floor in front of him while he held court, fully clothed, describing aims and projects such as a book or a new dungeon.

Over the course of their 17 -year relationship, she said, Raniere took closeup photographs of her genitalia and forced her into threesomes with other alleged slaves, including Mack.

” Initially, I participated because I was curious ,” she said. Later, she said, she participated because” he wanted that “.

Prosecutors have repeatedly sought to describe Raniere’s hold over his followers. Witness have testified that adherence to his wishes often came with strict weight-control guidelines. Saltzman told jurors Raniere dedicated her a target of 100 lb.

Vicente told the court he had grown concerned about Mack’s weight loss. Raniere’s matter-of-fact reply, he said, was:” Well, I’m trying to break her .”

Salzman and co-defendants including her mother, who was known as ” Prefect”, Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman and Mack have pleaded guilty to crimes ranging from visa fraud to racketeering. Vicente testified that Bronfman, an important group benefactor, was once forced to wear a jock strap, for misbehaving.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Former Saints defensive objective Will Smith shot and killed in New Orleans

Smith, 34, shot multiple times in apparent road-rage incident, and police arrest and charge suspect with murder

Former New Orleans Saint player Will Smith was shot and killed Saturday after a traffic accident, and police arrested a suspect in the shooting on Sunday.

New Orleans city coroner Jeffrey C Rouse said in an emailed statement that Smith succumbed of multiple gunshot wounds after a traffic accident in the citys Lower Garden District. The former defensive end was 34 years old.

Cardell Hayes, 28, was apprehended on a charge of second-degree assassination in Smiths death, New Orleans Police Department spokesman Tyler Gamble said Sunday. Police said Hayes was the driver of a Humvee H2 that rear-ended Smiths Mercedes G6 3 at about 11.30 pm on Saturday. A passenger in Hayes vehicle was questioned and released, he said.

Gamble said the investigation was continuing. Online court records demonstrate Hayes plead guilty in 2014 to one count each of possessing an illegal weapon and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Saints owner Tom Benson and family released a statement mourning the loss of a player who had been their No. 1 draft pick in 2004.

The Saints family is hurting and devastated as it has lost a member too young and too soon, the statement said.

The Smith family released a statement through a public relations firm.

On behalf of the Smith family, we are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers. We ask that you continue to respect the familys privacy as they mourn the loss of a devoted husband, parent and friend, the statement read.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also released a statement offering his condolences to the family.

The former defensive aim was driving through an upscale part of the city called the Lower Garden District when his vehicle was rear-ended and pushed into a Chevrolet Impala occupied by two acquaintances of Smiths, police said. The acquaintances were not injured.

Police said Smith and Hayes argued and Hayes pulled out a handgun, shooting Smith and Smiths wife. Racquel Smith, 33, was hit in the leg and taken to a hospital. Smith succumbed at the scene.

Smith, a aborigine of Queens, New York, played for Ohio Nation 2002 national championship squad and was a first-round draft choice by New Orleans in 2004.

He led the Saints with a career-high 13 bags in 2009, when the club won its merely Super Bowl. Smiths career sack total ranks fourth in Saints history. He had 457 career tackles, 20 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
He last played in an NFL regular season game in 2012, finishing his career with 67{ bags.

During the 2013 preseason, a knee injury forced him onto injured reserve. He was signed in the 2014 offseason by New England but did not build the Patriots regular season roster.

Smith was defensive captain for much of his career, but it was also that leadership role that landed him at the center of the NFLs bounty probe in 2012. The league concluded that Smith and fellow defensive captain Jonathan Vilma helped run a locker-room pool that paid money bonuses for heavy and even injurious hittings.

Smith was initially suspended four games by Goodell, but Smith and three other implicated players successfully appealed their suspensions and was ever compelled to miss games, even as Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended the entire 2012 season.

A year earlier, however, Smith did have to serve a two-game suspension that stemmed from findings back in 2008 that he and several other NFL players had utilized a weight-loss product called StarCaps, which contained a diuretic that had been banned by the league because it was known to mask steroid utilize. That suspension was enforced after legal challenges the spanned several seasons.

Off the field, Smith took an active role in trying to improve the lives of children in New Orleans. He established a foundation called, Where Theres A Will, Theres A Way, in 2007. Its stated mission is to motivate, educate and provide opportunities for women and children.

After football, he settled in Louisiana, his wifes native nation. His shooting came during the course of its weekend of the French Quarter festival, a popular celebration featuring local music and food.

Smith foliages behind his wife and three children.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Ex-Saints player Will Smith fatally shot in back and side, police warrant tells

Prosecutors have 60 days to decide whether to bring second-degree murder charge against suspect Cardell Hayes, who is being held on a$ 1m bond

Former New Orleans Saint player Will Smith was killed in a case of road-rage, by a Humvee-driving man who rear-ended his Mercedes and then shooting him in the back and side, according to a police warrant read in court.

Cardell Hayes, 28, was ordered held on$ 1m bond Sunday night after police arrested him on a charge of second-degree murder.

Smith, 34, was beloved by fans for helping the Saint win the 2009 Super Bowl, and for remaining in the community with his wife, Racquel, and their three children as New Orleans recovered from Hurricane Katrina. He had been enjoying a street celebration Saturday, posting a photo of himself and his wife on Twitter and Instagram with the caption: Having a detonation at the French Quarter Fest.

At about 11.30 pm Saturday night in the upscale Lower Garden District, Hayes Humvee H2 rear-ended Smiths Mercedes G6 3, pushing it into a Chevrolet Impala occupied by two of Smiths acquaintances. Hayes and Smith argued, and Hayes shot both Smith and Smiths wife, Racquel, police told. She was taken to a hospital with a leg wound.

The accident that police said touched off the deadly confrontation was the second within moments, defense attorney John Fuller explained outside the courthouse. He told Hayes ran into the back of Smiths Mercedes while following a hit-and-run driver who had rear-ended his Humvee and sped off. Fuller wouldnt say whether Hayes identified the Mercedes as the vehicle that had rear-ended him.

Hayes is not guilty of murder, and the narrative is more complex than the police account, Fuller told. He told Hayes called 911 after he was hit, and persuaded a witness who was about to leave to remain and talk to police.

Police spokesman Tyler Gamble told the Associated Press in an email Sunday that he had no immediate information about the witness or the 911 call.

Fuller asked for low bond Sunday night , noting that Hayes had waited for police, owns a towing business and is creating his five-year-old son.

Magistrate Brigid Collins said she understood, but according to the warrant, Ive also got a gentleman who was shot in the back.

Prosecutors have 60 days to decide whether to bring the second-degree murder charge against Hayes, who had a hearing scheduled Monday to inform the magistrates court of his permanent lawyer. Fuller, who represented him Sunday, said someone else from his statute firm will represent Hayes because hes been appointed as a temporary judge begin May 2.

Hayes and Smith didnt know each other, Fuller told, but like the NFL star, Hayes played defense, vying last year with the semipro Kings. The squad offered condolences to Smiths family and friends, and praised him as an example of the citys overwhelming kindness and generosity.

We are stunned and saddened by this senseless tragedy. The Crescent City Kings do not enable or condone violence in any shape, kind, or style, the teams Facebook post said.

Hayes is big, but mild, Fuller told Sunday: Hes actually a lot nicer than he appears. Hes soft-spoken, easily approachable.

Online court records demonstrate Hayes pleaded guilty in 2014 to possessing an illegal weapon and drug paraphernalia.

The gun Hayes carried Saturday was legal, Fuller told , noting that police didnt accuse him of any weapons charge. Gamble said the firearm hadnt been reported stolen, but tracing its actual history takes more time.

Hayes sued the New Orleans Police Department and six officers after police killed his father in 2005. Police settled the lawsuit in 2011. The settlement is confidential, told lawyer Ike Spears, who represented Hayes in that lawsuit.

Smith was a standout player. A aborigine of Queens, New York, played for Ohio Nation 2002 national championship squad and graduated in 2005 with a degree in criminology.

New Orleans preferred him in the first round of the 2004 draft, and he resulted the Saints with a career-high 13 bags in 2009. Smiths 67 and a half career bags rank fourth in Saints history. The New Orleans Saint Hall of Fame tells Smith had been unanimously voted into the hallway last month.

Smith also was at the center of the NFLs bounty probe in 2012, the past year he played in an NFL regular-season game. The league concludes that it and fellow defensive captain Jonathan Vilma helped operate a locker-room pool that paid money bonuses for heavy and even injurious hits.

Smith successfully appealed a four-game suspension, though coach Sean Payton was suspended the entire 2012 season.

A year earlier, Smith served a two-game suspension for using a weight-loss product that included a diuretic banned by the league for masking steroid use.

Off the field, Smith established a foundation to motivate, educate and provide opportunities for women and children.

The Smith family said in a statement Sunday that they are thankful for the outpouring of support but want privacy as they grieve.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The Martin Shkreli schadenfreude will pass when he wins like every other CEO | Chris Lehmann

We all detest the price-gouging, bottom-feeding pharmaceutical bro. But, like most CEOs, hes unlikely to face real penalty for his alleged misdeeds

The elves of schadenfreude would seem to have much to celebrate this vacation season with the news that the price-gouging pharmacy bro Martin Shkreli is in police detention, pending federal charges of securities fraud.

Shkreli, of course, rocketed into public infamy over recent reports that the bottom-feeding concern he captains, Turing Pharmaceuticals, had elected to hike the price of a 70 -year-old medication known as pyremethamine( used in the treatment of Aids and parasitic infections) from $1.50 to $750 per pill.

The self-infatuated 32 -year-old cretin who calls to mind a chilling alternate universe in which Justin Bieber is a Hitler Youth leader was unscathed by the cloudburst of criticism and abuse that came in the wake of this bout of unwelcome publicity.( It no doubt helped Shkreli to carry off his posture of Wall Street omnipotence that he hasnt at all been slowed down by the tedious work of actually seeing just how the science of this narcotic ran .) He insisted that he was simply doing the market-savvy product repositioning that his stockholders expected from him.

And in a sense, Shkreli is right. Hes not facing federal prosecution for his gaudy, greedy philosophy of the pharmaceutical cost point. In the mobbed-up world of drug for profit, there are no penalties for milking the final dime from a desperately sick patients cash reserves. No, thats the glorious rent-seeking genius of our free-enterprise medical system, even after the socialist apparatchiks of the Obamacare regime got their grubby mitts on it.

Instead, Shkreli appears to have been hauled up on charges of C-suite chicanery, stemming from his earlier tenure at the helm of another narcotic firm called Retrophin. The specifics of the charges will become clearer after the boyish CEOs formal arraignment, but there is, fortunately, an eye-popping civil suit pending against Shkreli for the many abuses he allegedly leapt on the guileless Retrophin board of directors.


Martin Shkreli, the controversial pharmaceutical entrepreneur, charged with hoax. Photo: Jb Nicholas/ Splash News/ Corbis

This suit contends that Shkreli used Retrophin as a virtual ATM machine to dispense cash and company shares of disgruntled investors in Shkrelis erstwhile hedge-fund, yet another health-care consortium called MSMB Capital.

The lawsuit alleges that Martin Shkreli, self-proclaimed master of the universe, launched his hedge-fund career with a disastrous belly flop: a cash-hemorrhaging trade with Merrill Lynch involving Orexigen Therapeutics, which was seeking to develop a new weight-loss narcotic. As a result of the Orex deal, MSMB Capital lost over$ 7m, and was virtually bankrupt, the Retrophin complaint alleges, before drily mention: Shkreli did not tell his MSMB Capital investors that he had lost all their fund as a result of the Orex Trade.

Instead, the nimble, fast-talking lout made Retrophin and a company called MSMB Healthcare shell companies that allegedly made the illusion of ongoing profitable Shkreli-led market activity while also neatly doubling as sources of equity with which to pay off or otherwise placate MSMB Capital investors trying either their fund back or, God forbid, a measure of justice.

Toting up the broad array of elaborate stock issuances and cash payouts that Shkreli employed in engineering this shell game, the suit attempts $65 m in damages a comparatively modest sum, given the scale of Shkrelis enterprise.

Against that backdrop, the shameless price-gouging policy of Shreklis latest vesture, Turing, begin to make a sick sort of market sense. Like a millennial Bernie Madoff, Martin Shkreli virtually has to kite fraudulent stock bargains and other dubious means of profit maximization to stave off the aggrieved corps of ground-floor investors hes accused of initially misleading and defrauding.

But this is where a much longer-running, far sicker joke is poised to kick in the one known as federal criminal prosecution of large-scale fiscal malefactors. For all the short-term tabloid attention that Shkrelis prosecution is likely to garner, the odds against a genuinely satisfying, Madoff-style turn in the hoosegow for our boy CEO are steep.

Thats because the legal pursuing of fiscal titans is notoriously compromised and corrupted. University of Virginia statute professor Brandon L Garrett carried out in exhaustive survey of more than 2,000 criminal prosecutions of business organizations from 2000 to 2012, and published the results in his recent eloquently titled book Too Big to Jail.

Less than half of the 273 publicly traded firms facing criminal charges went through the motions of an actual trial, Garrett find; the remaining 54% of such companies either entered into cushy deferred prosecution bargains generous, laxly enforced agreements to improve the culture of criminal malfeasance at the wayward firm in question or simply skirted prosecution altogether.


Vocal NY and Act Up NY protest Martin Shkrelis moneymaking scheme on 1 October. Photo: Erik Mcgregor/ Demotix/ Corbis

And once these bargains are struck, the fix is genuinely in, financially speaking. Garrett calculates that criminal penalties extracted by the feds amount to only. 04% of the market capitalisation for the firms that enter into these agreements.( That would leave plenty of cash lying around for the bad-acting CEOs in question to spring for a secret Wu-Tang Clan CD, for example, or any number of other ego-flattering baubles .)

Garrett also reports that 40% of companies that were parties to deferred prosecution bargains paid no fines whatsoever. All told, publicly traded firms which Turing and Retrophin are make up 58% of all deferred prosecution bargains, and only 6% of the already small pond of criminally prosecuted business concerns.

It may well be, of course, that Martin Shkreli, thanks to his own big mouth and unapologetic hilarity over shaking down sick people for profit, demonstrates to be an outlier in this cruel parody of justice served. But dont bet on it.

Way back in 2004, federal prosecutors managed to secure the conviction of another celebrity investor and business mogul whom the American populace loved to detest: Martha Stewart, whose pastel-clad rear end was packed off to the federal penitentiary in Alderson, West Virginia on charges of insider trading involving a pharmaceutical company called ImClone.( That companys signature narcotic, Erbitux, which almost no one noted with horror at the time, had a marketing cost point of $1,000 per injection .)

ImClones CEO Sam Waksal also did a brief tour behind bars, but the company continued to thrive, netting a cool $6.5 bn in a takeover by Eli Lilly. Waksal himself has brushed off his prison detour to found and captain a biotech startup called Kadmon Pharmaceuticals. Kadmon is currently positioning itself for an IPO which, under SEC rules, has forced Waksal to surrender his CEO post to his brother Harlan. But the big plan has run aground among a lawsuit alleging yes securities hoax.

So lets not get too giddy over the specter of Martin Shkreli in an orange jumpsuit. Even in the unlikely event that hes tried and convicted, the system is plainly put in for him to learn nothing at all from the experience.

Martin Shkreli, being led from tribunal.

Read more: www.theguardian.com