Disgraced entrepreneur, Baruch alumnus gets early release from prison

Caryl Anne Francia, Business Editor

Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur and Baruch College alumnus, was released from federal prison on May 18, three years into his seven-year sentence.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Shkreli displayed high intelligence at a young age, skipping two grades in school. At 17, he graduated from Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business as an undergraduate in May 2004 and interned at a hedge fund.

Shkreli returned to Baruch for his master’s degree, graduated in May 2008 and started a hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management LP, in October 2009.

He was charged for using false representations to induce $3 million from investors, lying about making profits when MSMB Capital made trading losses and misappropriating over $200,000 before the hedge fund folded.

Shkreli was charged for the last offense again, this time with MSMB Healthcare Management LP, another hedge fund he founded in February 2011.

The same year, he also founded the pharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc., which has since been renamed TravereTherapeutics Inc.

As CEO, he allegedly conspired with company attorney Evan Greebel to give 2 million shares from a shell company to seven employees who were close to Shkreli, according to CNBC. He left the company in 2014 after being booted from his role.

In February 2015, he founded and served as the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG,  renamed Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC in September 2017.

Shkreli made headlines after the price of Daraprim, a Turing-produced drug used to treat acute malaria and AIDS, jumped by over 5,000%. The price of a single pill was marked up from $13.50 to $750. Turing Pharmaceuticals allegedly tried to block other companies from making cheaper, generic versions of the drug, according to The Wall Street Journal.

He defended the price surge by saying it was necessary to keep production running and that it would not have a significant impact on the healthcare market due to its small presence.

“This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business,” Shkreli said, according to The New York Times. “This is still one of the smallest pharmaceutical products in the world. It really doesn’t make sense to get any criticism for this.”

Shkreli was arrested in his Manhattan home on fraud-related charges on Dec.17, 2015.

While arrested, Shkreli made headlines again after winning a 2015 auction for the sole copy of hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan’s seventh album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” A portion of his $2 million bid went to charity, according to NPR. He was forced to forfeit the album to the federal government in 2018.

A jury convicted the disgraced entrepreneur in a Brooklyn federal court in July 2017. A judge revoked his release bond after Shkreli offered social media followers $5,000 if they acquired hair samples from former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in the Federal Correctional Institution Allenwood Low in Pennsylvania in March 2018. He was banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life and was ordered to pay $64.6 million in damages in January 2022 as a result of a Federal Trade Commission-led lawsuit for monopolizing Daraprim.

Shkreli was released from Allenwood on terms of his good behavior. He was transported to the New York Residential Reentry Management Office, a federal-run halfway house in Brooklyn.

“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,” Benjamin Brafman, an attorney for Shkreli, said in a statement, as reported by CNBC.

The New York Post acquired photos of him walking outside the facility and reported that he is on the dating service, Bumble Inc.

His release from federal custody is scheduled for Sept. 14.