It seems Marty has used Ms. Smythe as an all-too-willing conduit — to solicit copies of a book. He wants as many copies of the book as his acolytes will buy for him. Yawn.
But not just any book. This is a book that retails for $220 per copy. It is written by a “faux” lawyer, one charged with drug trafficking offenses. One who apparently previously did time for federal drug offenses.
The book is well-known in the federal prison system, as older editions of it (now dog-eared, and available in paperback) are traded among inmates, many of them wrongly believing it might hold the key to their release.
The retail price of the book is (in my opinion) simply a more-crude version of Shkreli’s Daraprim-style scam — but by the book’s author (the jailhouse “lawyer”). That “author” has just printed a purported 16th edition, at yet another premium price. Charming. And I believe Marty (ever the copycat, non-innovator) intends to create a jailhouse version of a “bitcoin” scheme — by making a market in, and trading in a lend/lease library of his (hoped for) multiple copies of the book.
The rub is that he can only receive five books per week. The further rub is that there is a local MDC rule about how many books he may have in his possession (in his cell), at any given time. Most saliently, there is a prohibition on trading things of value, or creating currencies inside the MDC — no unauthorized markets. That’s to avoid shankings — over deals gone sour — which at $220 a copy… this has a real potential for inciting violence (among desperate incarcerated drug offenders, and drug dealers). Once again, another of Marty’s money-making schemes seems particularly poorly-planned.
But I do not doubt that drug traffickers, many with substantial cash outside the MDC, could direct payments (in cash, or bitcoin) be delivered to Mr. Brafman’s offices — Shkreli’s lawyer — in return for a “time share” reading through of the book’s contents. Charming.
Even if I were to make this stuff up, it couldn’t be more strange. But it is all (very likely) true. Now you know.