Martin Shkreli continues to run business from prison, report says

Martin Shkreli reportedly runs his pharmaceutical company from prison on a contraband smartphone.

Shkreli continues to run the remains of the drug company that once earned him the title of most hated man in America, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. He was convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy in 2017. He has served 16 months of a seven-year sentence in federal prison.

Shkreli is reportedly running Phoenixus AG, formerly known as Turing Pharmaceuticals. In 2015, when Shkreli was the CEO, Turing raised the price of the lifesaving drug Daraprim used by AIDS patients from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill. The price hike sparked a public outcry.

The Journal says that Shkreli anticipates the company will grow more successful while he’s in prison. He believes the company, of which he owns 40%, could be worth $3.7 billion by the time he gets out of prison.

On one recent phone call, Shkreli fired Phoenixus CEO Kevin Mulleady, the Journal reported. Shkreli reportedly later changed his mind, agreeing to suspend Mulleady rather than fire him.

The company, which has no website and whose phone has been disconnected, could not be reached for comment on the story on Thursday. Attorney Marc Kasowitz, who the Journal reported has been hired by Phoenixus, did not respond to a request for comment.

Benjamin Brafman, Shkreli’s criminal attorney, declined to comment on the report, as did the FBI, which said it could neither confirm nor deny an investigation into Shkreli’s activities in prison.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said it cannot discuss details of confinement for an individual inmate. It pointed out that federal inmates are prohibited from possessing cell phones in prison. Conviction for such an offense can result in a term of imprisonment of up to one year and a fine, the bureau said.

Shkreli’s social media accounts remain active despite his prison sentence. He also has a blog on Medium. New posts on Medium and Facebook appeared as recently as Tuesday. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Shkreli’s sentence was not related to his time at Turing. Instead he was charged with defrauding investors out of more than $11 million between 2009 and 2014. The charges and conviction dealt with his time as CEO of Retrophin, a different biotech company that ousted him in 2014.

A Judge ordered Shkreli to forfeit about $7.4 million in assets and pay a $750,000 fine as part of his sentence.

— CNN’s Jessica Schneider contributed to this report.