‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli Has Been Running Company From Prison With Smuggled Cellphone

Martin Shkreli
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Martin Shkreli seems to be running his pharmaceutical company using a contraband cellphone while serving a seven-year prison sentence for conspiracy and securities fraud related to his work with other companies, CNN reports.

On a recent phone call with company leadership, Shkreli is reported to have fired CEO Kevin Mulleady before later changing his mind and settling on a temporary leave of absence for Mulleady instead.

Today Shkreli’s company is called Phoenixus AG and he owns 40 percent of it. Shkreli has claimed that he expects the company to continue to be successful while he serves his sentence, estimating that it could be worth more than $3 billion upon his release.

Because the company has no website or immediately obvious means to make legitimate contact with anyone associated with, reports of Shkreli’s continued involvement have not been confirmed. Marc Kasowitz, an attorney recently hired by Phoenixus AG, did not respond to requests for comment. Likewise, Benjamin Brafman, Shkreli’s personal criminal lawyer, also did not comment. The FBI would not confirm or deny the activities, either.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons would not discuss details of an individual inmate with the media, but did indicate that possession of a cell phone in prison would indeed be prohibited and that being caught with one could lead to further imprisonment of up to a year, plus additional fines.

Shkreli has, however, remained active on social media including a regularly updated blog while in prison, apparently within the rules of his incarceration.

Shkreli was dubbed “Pharma Bro” by the media, as he made headlines for raising the price of Daraprim, a lifesaving AIDS medication produced by his company from just over $13 per pill to $750. That controversy unfolded in 2015, when the company was called Turing Pharmaceuticals and Shkreli was CEO.

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At the time, Shkreli was largely vilified publicly for price-gauging, though he claimed that the Daraprim price hike and similar moves were aimed at insurance companies, not consumers.

Regardless, the court of public opinion, like the federal court that would later convict him on a number of other charges, was not kind to the young executive. He was even dubbed “the most hated man in America” and became something of a cautionary tale for young up-and-coming investors.

As a result of his convictions, Shkreli was ordered to forfeit more than $7 million in assets and pay a fine of $750,000. Those charges were related to investment fraud during his tenure as CEO of Retrophin, a biotech company that he left in 2014.