On Thursday morning, pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli was arrested on charges of securities fraud in New York.
This, of course, is just the latest development in Shkreli’s run of negative news. He became infamous earlier this year when his company Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of a drug taken by AIDS patients by a whopping 5,000%. Many on the Internet and in the press are taking these charges to be the final nail in the coffin, proof that Shkreli is the worst guy since Vlad the Impaler.
But when it comes to securities fraud, the charges against him pale in comparison to the corporate raiders we’ve seen in the past.
Federal prosecutors have accused Shkreli of illegally taking stock from a company he founded called Retrophin, using those assets to pay off business debts, and orchestrating a series of coverups to hide millions of dollars worth of investment losses, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.
Bernie Madoff, by contrast, stole around $20 billion. The lies in the Enron scandal took billions of dollars. The top two executives at Tyco were charged with a $600 million fraud.
This isn’t meant to defend Shkreli. But keep in mind that his alleged securities fraud is small potatoes compared to some of the malfeasance Corporate America has seen in recent years.