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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 18, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 51
Profiteering pharma CEO arrested by FBI
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Profiteering pharma CEO arrested by FBI

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli was arrested by FBI agents at his Midtown Manhattan apartment December 17 and led away in handcuffs. He has been charged with security fraud.

Shkreli rocketed to notoriety in September when his pharmaceutical firm acquired rights to the drug Daraprim - a potentially life-saving antiparasitic medication used by some HIV patients - and jacked up the price more than 5,000%.

At the time, he was already under investigation for fraud in connection with a previous business venture.

According to the federal indictment, Shkreli made false representations to investors in one of his previous businesses, MSMB Capital, bilking them of $3 million.

After MSMB suffered devastating trading losses in 2011, the company ceased trading, but Shkreli sent fabricated updates to investors touting profits of as high as 40%, the indictment said.

He also solicited $5 million from investors for another fund, MSMB Healthcare Management LP, while concealing his disastrous performance managing MSMB Capital, the indictment charges.

Shkreli and a co-conspirator, attorney Evan Greebal, then acquired Retrophin pharmaceutical company and illegally misappropriated $11 million in Retrophin assets through settlement agreements and sham consulting deals, the indictment continues.

The federal fraud charges mirror allegations made against Shkreli in a lawsuit filed by the Retrophin board of directors in August. That suit asks for $65 million in damages, claiming that Shkreli used his control over the company to enrich himself and pay off MSMB investors' claims.

At least two separate Congressional probes have been launched since September on the pricing issues of Daraprim, which had long been available as a generic drug used to treat toxoplasmosis in AIDS patients.

Shkreli's current drug company is also under investigation by the New York state attorney general on antitrust charges.

At a Senate hearing on drug pricing, a doctor who treats babies with life-threatening toxoplasmosis testified that a course of treatment with Daraprim went from about $1,200 to no less than $69,000.

On Twitter, the top hashtag and keyword related to Shkreli's arrest was #Karma.

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