Updated on December 17 at 11:19 a.m. ET
He raised the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750 and spent $2 million to buy the only copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album—making him the symbol of corporate excess and greed and earning him the monicker “Pharma Bro.” And on Thursday, federal agents arrested Martin Shkreli, 32, in connection with securities fraud linked to a company he started.
Shkreli and Evan Greebel, an associate, who was also arrested Thursday, were charged with two counts of securities fraud, three counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud; and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. You can read the indictment against them here.
Shkreli ran his companies like “a Ponzi scheme,” and “lied to his investors,” Robert L. Capers, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said at a news conference in which the indictment against the two men was unsealed.
Bloomberg, which first reported the arrest, noted:
Prosecutors in Brooklyn charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it to pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He was later ousted from the company, where he’d been chief executive officer, and sued by its board.
In the case that closely tracks that suit, federal prosecutors accused Shkreli of engaging in a complicated shell game after his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, lost millions. He is alleged to have made secret payoffs and set up sham consulting arrangements. A New York lawyer, Evan Greebel, was also arrested early Thursday. He's accused of conspiring with Shkreli in part of the scheme.
Shkreli came into the public consciousness in September soon after his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought the drug Daraprim, which is used to treat people with weakened immune systems, as in AIDS and during chemotherapy, and raised its price by 5,000 percent. In the backlash that followed, he was called “a spoiled brat,” and “the most hated man in America.”