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    Thursday, August 11, 2022

    'Pharma Bro' Shkreli freed from prison for halfway house

    FILE - Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli attends the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 4, 2016. Shkreli has been freed from prison after serving much of a seven-year prison sentence for lying to hedge fund investors and cheating investors in a drug company. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

    New York — Convicted pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli was freed Wednesday from prison after serving much of a seven-year prison sentence for lying to hedge fund investors and cheating investors in a drug company.

    His attorney, Ben Brafman, said Shkreli, 39, was released early from a prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. The move was confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

    “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,” Brafman said.

    Shkreli was moved to a halfway house overseen by the Federal Bureau of Prisons' New York Residential Reentry Management Office, the bureau said in a statement.

    The Bureau of Prisons said Shkreli's projected release date from federal custody was Sept. 14.

    Brafman said he has encouraged Shkreli to make no statements, and the lawyer planned no comments beyond confirming Wednesday's moves.

    Shkreli was sentenced to the seven-year term after a 2017 conviction for lying to investors about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, skimming money for himself from those funds, and defrauding investors in a drug company, Retrophin, by hiding his ownership of some of its stock. He was also ordered to forfeit $7.3 million.

    Shkreli was originally due to be released from prison in September 2023.

    Dubbed “Pharma Bro,” Shkreli gained fame and notoriety after buying rights to Daraprim, a drug used to treat an infection that occurs in some AIDS, malaria and cancer patients and raising its price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

    Shkreli defended the decision as capitalism at work, saying insurance and other programs ensured that people who need Daraprim would ultimately get it.

    During the campaign for the presidency in 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton called it price-gouging and future President Donald Trump, a Republican, called Shkreli “a spoiled brat.”

    Shkreli resigned as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals — later Vyera — in 2015, a day after he was arrested on securities fraud charges.

    Earlier this year, he was ordered by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote to return $64.6 million in profits he and his former company gained by raising the price of the drug. She also barred him from the pharmaceutical industry for life.

    He also once regularly attacked critics on social media and once offered a bounty to anyone who could give him one of Hillary Clinton’s hairs. He also was known for owning a rare, one-of-a-kind album by the Wu-Tang Clan, which was sold to satisfy some of his court debts.

    Associated Press writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.

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