When “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli finally pays for his fraud, the federal government argues its coffers should be filled first.
Shkreli, who was convicted of securities fraud and is serving a seven-year prison sentence, owes the IRS more than $1.6 million, according to a new court filing.
“Martin Shkreli has failed, neglected, or refused to pay in full the liability for the income tax year 2015,” government tax attorney Stephanie Chernoff said in the court filing.
The feds asked a judge to determine whether Shkreli should pay that debt before others. Last month the commissioner of Taxation and Finance in New York said Shkreli should first repay his state tax lien of $480,000, “an interest superior to that of the United States of America,” the state attorney general argued.
The state said its tax lien dates to January 2017, well before Shkreli was ordered in March to forfeit more than $7 million in assets to satisfy his securities fraud conviction.
The federal government said its tax lien is even older.
“The long-established priority rule with respect to federal tax liens is that ‘the first in time is the first in right,’” Chernoff said. “The federal tax lien has priority over the commissioner's liens.”
If Shkreli cannot pay, the IRS wants a piece of his other forfeited assets, including an E-Trade brokerage account, a Picasso work and the rare Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”