Health and Science

Accused pharmaceutical fraudster Martin Shkreli eyes collecting rare Magic cards

Martin Shkreli now collects rare 'Magic' cards

And now, for Martin Shkreli's next trick ....

Accused pharma fraudster Martin Shkreli has sparked yet another firestorm, this time after he asked Reddit users for information about buying rare, pricey cards used in the geeky trading card game Magic: The Gathering

"Hi everyone. I'm new to the game," a user named "martinshrekli" posted in the subreddit for Magic, in a thread with the heading "Advice for a new and wealthy player."

"I'm looking to acquire some rare cards. I am a collector of wine, art and other goods. Can someone give me some resources on collecting rare cards? Specifically I've been told black lotus cards are very valuable."

"Thanks, Martin," wrote the poster.

Shkreli later posted on Twitter, perhaps in jest, that he had acquired some Black Lotus cards.

Black Lotus cards, which can sell for $14,000 or more, are prized by Magic aficionados for their rarity.

Shkreli's query, first reported by the site, drew more than 600 responses, some thoughtful, others scornful, from the Reddit community, where his reputation as a provocateur preceded him.

One wrote, "Martin you really should learn the game. If your interested in the investment after you've played a bit then you can always get advice from your local game store after you've made a few new friends."

Another told Shkreli, "If you're interested in a serious discussion there are those of us who can help. We have facebook groups specifically for high end transactions."

But other comments were scathing.

"There goes the neighborhood," one comment said.

Another wrote: "crazy rich evil guy looking to make money buying old expensive collectables (sic)."

The 32-year-old Shkreli first gained public notoriety last year after Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that he led at the time, raised the price of the antiparasite medication Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent. Daraprim is used to treat pregnant women, babies and people infected with HIV, as well as other patients.

He then argued, repeatedly, that the price hike was justifiable, saying that he was going to use extra revenue for research on new drugs. But internal company documents later showed that he and Turing were relishing the profits that the price increase would bring, which were estimated to be $375 million annually.

His contemptuous attitude on social media such as Twitter toward his critics, including elected officials, kept the controversy simmering for months, as did his brazen boast that he had purchased, for $2 million, a one-of-kind Wu Tang Clan album that he had no intention of playing for the public.

Shkreli was indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York, late last year on charges that he looted another pharma company he previously ran, Retrophin, out of $11 million as part of a scheme to pay back investors he was suspected of defrauding at hedge funds he had operated.

Shkreli has pleaded not guilty in the case, and remains free on $5 million bond.

Shkreli referred to his criminal case during the discussion on Reddit.

"I'm one of the most successful pharma entrepreneurs ever," Shkreli wrote.

"The charges are ridiculous. I am innocent, but alas, my last name is not Clinton," he wrote.

After CNBC emailed Shkreli's high-powered criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman to request comment on the Reddit post, Shkreli telephoned a reporter and said, "You're writing a story about my card collecting?"

He then told CNBC that he didn't want the reporter to contact either himself, his lawyer or anyone who "works for me."

"CNBC is on our blacklist," Shkreli said.

Shkreli then posted a recorded conversation he had with the reporter on YouTube.