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'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Claims He's Engaged As He Makes Another Push For Coronavirus-Related Release

Martin Shkreli, who became infamous after hiking the cost of a vital HIV drug by 5,000%, says he'll confine himself to his fianceé's Manhattan apartment while he works to aid the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

By Courtney Brogle
Shocking Fraud and Scam Cases

Martin Shkreli, the disgraced "Pharma Bro" known for inflating the price of a vital HIV medication, is requesting a prison release in the name of love.

Shkreli, 37, and his attorneys submitted a compassionate release request on Wednesday in light of his apparent engagement. He has asked to spend his remaining seven-year sentence not in the Allenwood, Pennsylvania minimum-security facility he is currently in, but instead with his supposed fiancée at her Manhattan apartment.

The supposed bride-to-be's name was redacted in court documents.

"Mr. Shkreli proposes to be on home confinement under GPS-enabled electronic monitoring at his fiancé's [sic] apartment in Manhattan with all the supervised release conditions that are set forth in the Judgment in a Criminal Case," the release request said. "He would be in the apartment at all times for the duration of his sentence."

Martin Shkreli

The primary reason Shkreli is requesting release is supposedly to work on a coronavirus cure. He initially requested a three-month furlough to assist in research of the virus, according to a scientific paper published to Prospero Pharmaceuticals' website. The biotech company was co-founded in 2015 by Shkreli and Kevin Mulleady.

"As a successful two-time biopharma entrepreneur ... I am one of the few executives experienced in ALL aspects of drug development from molecule creation and hypothesis generation, to preclinical assessments and clinical trial design/target engagement demonstration, and manufacturing/synthesis and global logistics and deployment of medicines," he wrote.

Shkreli, who was found guilty in 2017 of defrauding investors in two of his hedge funds in an $11 million Ponzi scheme, clarified that he has not been paid for his work while incarcerated, nor does he plan to profit from any treatments he helps develop.

"I believe any company developing a coronavirus drug should seek to recoup its cost at most and be willing to perform the work as a civil service at the least," Shkreli wrote. "If the government is willing to reward industry for their work on this catastrophic situation, it will be at each company’s discretion to accept, negotiate or deny such funding, including bulk purchases, cost reimbursement, tax credits and other benefits."

Mulleady — who co-wrote the paper as a "citizen scientist" with Shkreli — is an unindicted co-conspirator in Shkreli's fraud case, according to the California Department of Justice.

Shkreli became infamous in 2015, when he gouged the prices of Daraprim, a life-saving HIV medication, by 5,000% through his former pharmaceutical company Turing Pharmaceuticals. The price hike was unrelated to the hedge fund criminal case. However, Shkreli was met with a lawsuit in January seeking to ban him from the pharmaceutical industry for life, The New York Post reported.

Benjamin Brafman, Shkreli's defense attorney, told The New York Post that he believes his client "could cure cancer" if given the time and resources.

"Feel the same about coronavirus. Warehousing this genius instead of letting him help with the research, makes no sense whatsoever,” Brafman added.

The compassionate release request was submitted to Brooklyn federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto. As of now, Shkreli is slated for release in September 2023.