The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday announced that it has sold the only copy of the exclusive Wu-Tang Clan album previously owned by former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli, who was convicted of fraud in 2017.
“Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” was ordered forfeited as part of the $7.4 million judgment made against Shkreli in March 2018. The DOJ said in a press release that proceeds from the sale of the album will go towards the outstanding balance that Shkreli owes on his judgement.
Shkreli won the album in an auction in 2015 for a reported $2 million. It comes with a "hand-carved nickel-silver box," according to DOJ, as well as a leather-bound manuscript containing lyrics and a certificate of authenticity. It also comes with a slew of restrictions having to do with the duplication of its recordings.
The price for which the album was sold and the identity of the buyer were not disclosed by the DOJ. However, the amount owed by Shkreli has now been satisfied, the department said.
“Through the diligent and persistent efforts of this Office and its law enforcement partners, Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself. With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete,” Jacquelyn Kasulis, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in the release.
Shkreli was convicted on two counts of securities fraud and one count of securities fraud conspiracy for defrauding investors and manipulating the stock price and trading volume for his company Retrophin, now known as Travere Therapeutics. He was sentenced to seven years in prison with three years of supervised release.
Last year, Shkreli asked for a temporary release from prison to "assist in research work on COVID-19," a request that a judge denied.
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto wrote in her ruling that the idea Shkreli could create a cure for COVID-19 when so many leading scientific minds around the world had failed was “delusional self-aggrandizing behavior.”