There are few individuals in America who are widely despised and held in contempt by just about everybody across the ideological and political spectrum, but so-called “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli is one of them.
The disgraced former pharmaceutical executive and hedge fund manager Shkreli was reportedly just released early from federal prison and moved to a halfway house, the Daily Caller reported.
Shkreli, who initially gained notoriety for substantially jacking up the price of a life-saving drug, had served about five years of a seven-year sentence he had received following a 2017 conviction in federal court for defrauding investors.
ABC News reported that Shkreli’s defense attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a statement, “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.”
“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,” the lawyer added.
Shkreli had first earned widespread condemnation in 2015 when his Turing Pharmaceuticals company had raised the price of an acquired drug called Daraprim — an anti-malaria drug used to treat HIV patients and other diseases — by more than 4,000 percent, and also made efforts to block potential competitors with generic versions of the drug from gaining market access … actions for which he was ultimately ordered by a judge to pay $64 million in fines.
Convicted of securities fraud
The scrutiny led to real trouble in 2017 when he was tried and convicted of securities fraud in connection with a pair of hedge funds he managed in addition to other companies he owned or held a stake in. Shkreli was accused of having defrauded investors with false information and of essentially looting his other businesses of millions of dollars in order to pay back unhappy investors.
In addition to receiving a seven-year prison sentence, he was also hit with a $75,000 fine and ordered to forfeit upwards of $7.3 million in assets.
Among those forfeited assets, the Daily Caller noted, was a one-of-a-kind special album from hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan that Shkreli had bought for $2.2 million — earning plenty of enmity for the purchase at the time — that was ultimately seized by the Justice Department and auctioned off for an undisclosed amount that went toward the payment of his staggering fines and debts.
Not a special deal; early release is now common
The Washington Post reported that the federal Bureau of Prisons declined to provide any details about the completed programs to earn early release that had been mentioned by Shkreli’s attorney, and instead simply provided a generic statement about how the bureau tries to help all federal prisoners gain credit toward early release through a variety of programs for the incarcerated.
The outlet linked those programs to the First Step Act that was signed into law in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump which did make policy changes to make it easier for federal inmates to achieve credit toward early release.
In that, it was pointed out that despite the high-profile nature of Shkreli’s name and misdeeds, he did not earn any special treatment and his early release is no different than that offered to countless other federal inmates who have similarly been allowed out of prison or transferred to halfway houses before completion of their sentences in recent years.