Former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli, dubbed the "Pharma Bro" by critics for jacking up the price of an AIDS drug, got an early release from prison Wednesday.
Shkreli, 39, had been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for securities-fraud charges in 2018, but he won an early release by completing programs that qualified him for a shortened sentence. He was moved to a halfway house, where he is expected to stay until mid-September.
MARTIN SHKRELI ORDERED TO PAY $65 MILLION FINE, BARRED FROM PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY
“I am pleased to report that Martin Shkreli has been released from Allenwood prison and transferred to a BOP halfway house after completing all programs that allowed for his prison sentence to be shortened,” Shkreli's attorney, Ben Brafman, said in a statement, per the New York Post.
Shkreli's prison sentence was unrelated to the price-gouging allegations that made him well known. He was arrested after allegedly lying to secure money from investors in a scheme that involved his hedge fund company MSMB Capital Management and his biopharmaceutical company Retrophin. His attorneys unsuccessfully argued that he suffered from anxiety and was misunderstood. Shkreli also argued none of his investors lost money.
The board of Retrophin voted to replace Shkreli in 2014, and he founded Turing Pharmaceuticals in 2015. Prosecutors charged Shkreli in 2017 based on the alleged scheme, and he was ultimately convicted. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Shkreli asked for an early release to make it easier for him to discover a cure to the coronavirus, but a judge quickly shot down his request.
Shkreli gained notoriety after his Vyera Pharmaceuticals, formerly known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired the anti-malarial drug Daraprim and jacked up the price in 2015. The drug is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasite infection. The drug is also used to treat people with compromised immune systems due to AIDS and certain types of cancer.
Last January, a judge ordered Shkreli to pay a $64.6 million fine and barred him from participating in the pharmaceutical industry for his actions on Daraprim. The court determined he cornered the market to raise the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill in 2015 — a nearly 5,500% increase. His company also made moves to hinder other competitors from creating generics of the drug.
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The halfway house Shkreli is staying at is run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and is intended to help inmates reintegrate into society. He is slated for release from the facility on Sept. 14.
“While in the halfway house, I have encouraged Mr. Shkreli to make no further statement, nor will he or I have any additional comments at this time,” his lawyer said, per Bloomberg.