( 4UMF NEWS ) Pharma CEO Released On $5M Bail:
Martin Shkreli was released from custody Thursday afternoon on $5 million bail after pleading not guilty to securities fraud.
The reviled poster boy of drug price hikes perpetuated a Ponzi scheme on investors in a hedge fund and pharmaceutical company he had founded and previously led, prosecutors alleged Thursday.
Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical industry entrepreneur previously criticized for raising the price of life-saving drugs such as those used to fight HIV and cancer, was arrested early Thursday in New York City and indicted on criminal and civil securities fraud charges
Shkreli’s detention was not related to drug prices but instead stems from allegations by federal prosecutors that he illegally took stock from Retrophin — a biotechnology company he started in 2011 and exited in 2014 — to pay off unrelated debts.
Evan Greebel, a New York lawyer who served as Retrophin’s outside counsel, was also arrested on similar charges, FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser said.
Prosecutors charged Shkreli with two counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of securities fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission concurrently filed a separate civil complaint.
Shkreli potentially faces a maximum 20-year federal prison term if convicted on the top conspiracy count.
Investigators accused Shkreli and his now-defunct hedge fund MSMB Capital of defrauding investors by falsifying investment returns, using company funds to settle personal disputes with investors, unjustly enriching himself with company funds and forming false ties to consultants.
For example, Martin Shkreli told one investor on Dec. 2, 2010, that his hedge fund had $35 million assets, but it only had $700, according to the indictment.
At a press conference, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers charged that Shkreli, with Greebel’s help, used Retrophin as his personal “piggy bank” to funnel millions of dollars in illegal repayments to investors he’d defrauded in virtually defunct hedge funds.
“These charges in today’s indictment highlight the brazenness and breadth of Shkreli’s schemes and the outrageous web of lies and deceit weaved by both defendants,” Capers said.
Caper said the investigation was continuing and could lead to additional charges. Shkreli was scheduled to be arraigned later Thursday afternoon in Brooklyn federal court.
In an unrelated development this year, as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Shkreli became the target of heavy criticism from health industry experts, presidential candidates and others in September after he raised the price of a drug called Daraprim by more than 5,000%, from $13.50 a pill to $750.
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