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Wall Street Crime and Punishment: Martin Shkreli, the Self-Destructive Pharma Bro

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Does crime pay?
Wall Street Crime and Punishment is a weekly series by Benzinga’s Phil Hall chronicling the bankers, brokers and financial ne’er-do-wells whose ambition and greed take them in the wrong direction.
His former girlfriend acknowledged that he is “good at getting under people’s skin.” The judge who denied his most recent probation request accused him of displaying “delusional self-aggrandizing behavior.” His cellmates at the prison where he is currently incarcerated reportedly nicknamed him “a**h***.”
Tabloid journalists routinely labeled him “the most hated man in America” for his decision to jack up the price of a prescription drug used in treating a rare disease. He has also been derisively dubbed “Pharma Bro” by the same tabloid bunch for his cavalier behavior in defending his actions.
All of this seems to give Martin Shkreli more cred than he deserves. In reality, he was an incompetent businessman who stupidly put himself into a media spotlight that magnified his vices. In his mind, he was giving the public the ultimate example of What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get, but that proved to be his undoing because too many people didn’t like what they saw.
A Sketchy Background: Martin Shkreli was born March 17, 1983, at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Albanian immigrants who worked as janitors — and they kept those jobs even after their son had the financial means to support them.
The earliest controversy surrounding Shkreli dates back to his high school years. He attended Hunter College High School in Manhattan but it is unclear whether he graduated on schedule, graduated two years ahead of schedule, dropped out, or was kicked out. Nonetheless, he had some fondness for his alma mater and in March 2015, he donated $1 million, the largest endowment in the school’s history.
Shkreli graduated from Manhattan’s Baruch College in 2005 with a business degree. He wasn’t a sterling student, but that’s not where his focus was aimed. Instead, he gained a college internship at Cramer Berkowitz, the hedge fund run by Jim Cramer.
Shkreli told a Vanity Fair interviewer that he “weaseled” his way into the firm and began in the mailroom before working his way up to an associate’s role. As with his high school experience, stories vary on how he fit into Cramer Berkowitz, with some people claiming he reported to Cramer while the CNBC pundit later insisting he didn’t remember Shkreli and that he “he was no protege.”
Shkreli also had his first run-in with regulators during his Cramer Berkowitz tenure when he advocated short-selling Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: REGN). After the stock’s price dropped, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission conducted a probe of Shkreli but was unable to find any evidence of chicanery in his short-selling recommendation.
Related Link: The complete Wall Street Crime and Punishment series
Hits And Misses: Shkreli left Cramer Berkowitz after graduating from college and briefly worked at Intrepid Capital Management and UBS Wealth Management before starting his own hedge fund, Elea Capital Management, in 2006. That venture went awry when Lehman Brothers sued Shkreli and his hedge fund for failing to pay for a put option. Lehman Brothers won a $2.3 million default judgment against Shkreli and his fund, but the company collapsed in October 2008 before any restitution was made.
Undeterred, Shkreli teamed with childhood friend Marek Biestek to form MSMB Capital Management. The duo specialized in shorting biotech companies and trash-talking these firms in online chat rooms focused on stock trading.
But more bad luck seemed to plague Shkreli’s entrepreneurial pursuits: he made a disastrous short position in 2011 on the obesity drug company Orexigen Therapeutics (NASDAQ: OREX) through an account he held with Merrill Lynch, which cost the company $7 million that he was unable to repay. His handling of the debacle was even …
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren Questions Fidelity on Crypto 401(k) Product: What You Need to Know

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is calling on Fidelity Investments to explain its decision to allow its investors to add Bitcoin BTC/USD to their 401(k) retirement accounts.

What Happened: Warren and Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) sent a letter to Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson expressing concern about the company’s new Digital Assets Account, which allows investors to have a portion of their retirement savings allocated to Bitcoin through their 401(k) plan. The senators claim Fidelity ignored a U.S. Department of Labor warning to 401(k) plan fiduciaries to exercise “extreme care” when deciding to include cryptocurrency as an investment vehicle.

“Investing in cryptocurrencies is a risky and speculative gamble, and we are concerned that Fidelity would take these risks with millions of Americans’ retirement savings,” the senators wrote, adding that “Bitcoin’s volatility is compounded by its susceptibility to the whims of just a handful of influencers. Elon Musk’s tweets alone have led to Bitcoin value fluctuations as high as 8%. The high concentration of Bitcoin ownership and mining exacerbates these volatility risks. One study estimates that just 10% of Bitcoin miners are responsible for processing 90% of Bitcoin transactions and that 1,000 individuals control 3 million Bitcoins – about 15% of the current Bitcoin supply.”

See Also: Biden And Trump Readying For 2024 Rematch, But Who Will Announce First?

What Else Happened: The senators also questioned if the company had a conflict of interest because it was involved in crypto mining.

“Despite a lack of demand for this option – only 2% of employers expressed interest in adding cryptocurrency to their 401(k) menu – Fidelity has decided to move full speed ahead with supporting Bitcoin investments,” they said.

The senators gave Fidelity until May 18 to answer questions regarding risks related to cryptocurrency and whether this offering posed a conflict of interest.

The Wall Street Journal reported Fidelity responded to the senators’ concerns via an emailed statement.

“As a Massachusetts-based company with a proven 75-plus-year history of doing what’s in the best interest of our customers, we look forward to continuing our respectful dialogue with policy makers to responsibly provide access with all appropriate consumer protections and educational guidance for plan sponsors as they consider offering this innovative product,” the company said. “Consistent with our ongoing dialogue with regulators and policy makers, we will respond directly.”

Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

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OgenaShield Pure Oxygen(R) HD Shampoo Now Available on Amazon

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SARASOTA, Fla., April 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ogena Solutions is pleased to announce that our OgenaShield Pure Oxygen(R) HD Shampoo is now listed for sale on Amazon.com (US only). View our listing.

About OgenaShield Pure Oxygen(R) HD Shampoo

Ogena Solutions Pure Oxygen(R) HD Shampoo is a 100% non-toxic, environmentally safe, and veterinarian-recommended way to clean and deodorize dogs, cats, horses and cattle. This rinse-free, fragrance-free animal shampoo converts to oxygen and water vapor, leaves absolutely no active residue and works gently to relieve the animal’s itchy and irritated skin. Besides being excellent for general shampooing Pure Oxygen(R) has been specifically formulated for use in Ogena’s ANIVAC animal bathing systems and when diluted 50/50 with water can also be used in products such as the Bissell Bark Bath for dogs and the eZall and other foaming bathing system for horses.

Product Testimonials

I’m impressed with this product. Works better than any oral meds or topical or other shampoos I’ve tried in 6 years for animals with skin problems! – Lynn C.

Cleared up my dog’s infection when antibiotics wouldn’t work. Highly recommend it. – Anonymous

Fostered cats for 15 years and recently came across a ringworm fungal strain that was resistant to miconazole topical, terbinafine oral and topical, itraconazole oral and everything else on the planet. This was THE only thing that got rid of it. Miracle product. – S.T.

About Ogena Solutions

Ogena Solutions is a One Health organization focused on safeguarding animals, people and the environment from pathogens and infectious diseases. We offer a Next Generation version of PCO air purifiers, foamers, topicals, application equipment, vacuum systems, and more. All of our products meet a high standard for safety, efficacy, and efficiency, as well as expert protocols for optimum results. Our team has extensive experience working on infection prevention and biosecurity in the veterinary, farm/agriculture, animal shelter and boarding kennel sectors, and we work closely with government agencies, public leaders, corporations and small business owners to implement best practices for the health and safety of their employees, customers and the general public.

For more information, please contact:
Chama Gomez
BD & Technical Support Mgr – U.S.
1-855-900-8822 ext. 227
cgomez@ogenasolutions.com

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/70f25f1b-09e5-4cdc-a11c-397a94bff576

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TierPoint Developing Next Generation Cloud Solutions

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ST. LOUIS, April 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TierPoint, a leading provider of secure, connected data center and cloud solutions at the edge of the internet, today announced it is working with Dell Technologies to develop next generation cloud solutions on Dell APEX.

With cross-cloud/hybrid functionality, APEX solutions provide the agility and speed customers want, combined with the control, performance, security, and consistency they need – all packaged in the simplest way possible.

TierPoint Senior Vice President of Product Development Greg Ahlheim said: “To help fuel the growth and success of their organizations, more and more CIOs are embracing hybrid cloud solutions, allowing them to run each application in the type of cloud – private, multitenant, or public – where it performs best. In addition, today’s CIOs are increasingly seeking the flexibility of pay-as-you-go models for their cloud infrastructure. Dell addresses both of these needs through its APEX offerings, and we’re excited to work with them on developing solutions that combine their technology with the exceptional, cloud-agnostic guidance, service and support for which TierPoint is known.”

The first joint solution of the two companies will be a TierPoint Private Cloud powered by Dell APEX, with continuing collaboration on other APEX-powered solutions.


About TierPoint
Meeting clients where they are on their journey to IT transformation, TierPoint (tierpoint.com) is a leading provider of secure, connected data center and cloud solutions at the edge of the internet. The company has one of the largest customer bases in the industry, with thousands of clients ranging from the public to private sectors, from small businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises. TierPoint also has one of the largest and most geographically diversified footprints in the nation, with over 40 world-class data centers in 20 markets and 8 multitenant cloud pods, connected by a coast-to-coast network. Led by a proven management team, TierPoint’s highly experienced IT professionals offer a comprehensive solution portfolio of private, multitenant, managed hyperscale, and hybrid cloud, plus colocation, disaster recovery, security, and other managed IT services.

Contact: Pete Abel, 314-720-3129, Pete.Abel@tierpoint.com

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