‘Pharma Bro’ locked up with ter­ror­ism and mob sus­pects

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - BUSINESS - By Tom Hays

NEW YORK » In­mate No. 87850053 has no in­ter­net.

That could be the least of the in­con­ve­niences ahead for “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, whose on­line rant­ings about Hil­lary Clin­ton prompted a judge this week to re­voke his bail and put him in the Met­ro­pol­i­tan De­ten­tion Cen­ter, a fortress-like fed­eral jail that also houses ter­ror­ism and mob sus­pects.

MDC, as the Brook­lyn lockup for 1,800 men and women is known, has over the years drawn com­plaints rang­ing from sex­ual as­saults to the lack of fresh air, sun­light and recre­ation.

Fed­eral prison of­fi­cials wouldn’t dis­cuss Shkreli’s con­di­tions, though his lawyer says his client is in with the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. All de­fense at­tor­ney Ben Braf­man would say of Shkreli’s two nights locked up so far is that he “is do­ing rea­son­ably well un­der very dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances.”

Shkreli, a boy­ish pharma ex­ec­u­tive best known for jack­ing up the price of a life-sav­ing drug, had been al­lowed to re­main free on $5 mil­lion bail fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion last month in an un­re­lated se­cu­ri­ties fraud scheme in­volv­ing two hedge funds he ran.

But Shkreli’s creepy Face­book post­ing of­fer­ing a $5,000 bounty for a strand of Clin­ton’s hair was the last straw for U.S. Dis­trict Judge Kiyo Mat­sumoto, who agreed with pros­e­cu­tors that he should be put be­hind bars un­til his sen­tenc­ing for se­cu­ri­ties fraud early next year.

He is fac­ing up to 20 years in prison on the most se­ri­ous charges. But he had brashly pre­dicted in livestreamed rants that he would never see the in­side of a prison be­cause of sen­tenc­ing guide­lines — and that even if he did get prison time, it would be just a few months at a min­i­mum­se­cu­rity “Club Fed.”

“I’ll play bas­ket­ball and tennis and Xbox and be out on these streets in four months,” he boasted to the New York Daily

News just min­utes af­ter his con­vic­tion.

That’s hardly what Shkreli will be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing at MDC, where he will re­main for at least four months un­til his Jan. 16 sen­tenc­ing.

The 34-year-old Shkreli is un­der the same roof as de­fen­dants ac­cused of plot­ting to join the Is­lamic State group or com­mit at­tacks on its be­half. Oth­ers in­clude or­ga­nized crime fam­ily cap­tain Vin­cent Asaro and Edgar Vey­tia, a for­mer Mex­i­can state at­tor­ney gen­eral charged with drug smug­gling.

While far less no­to­ri­ous than city-run Rik­ers Is­land, the Brook­lyn fa­cil­ity has a check­ered history. Af­ter the Sept. 11 at­tacks, dozens of mostly Arab or Mus­lim men “of high in­ter­est” were de­tained at MDC, where many claimed guards reg­u­larly slammed them against walls un­til of­fi­cials be­gan video­tap­ing them as a safe­guard.

More re­cently, pros­e­cu­tors have al­leged that MDC was the scene of sex­ual as­saults by guards on fe­male in­mates. A fed­eral mag­is­trate last year ex­pressed re­luc­tance to re­mand a woman there, cit­ing a report say­ing there was an “ab­sence of fresh, clean air, the com­plete ab­sence of sun­light, and the ab­sence of ANY out­door time and ac­tiv­i­ties.”

In a court fil­ing, lawyers for Ja­cob “Kobi” Alexan­der, the con­victed ex-CEO of Con­verse Tech­nol­ogy, com­plained about a lack of recre­ation time, say­ing he “spends large parts of his day walk­ing in cir­cles in his unit when he is per­mit­ted to do so.”

When the tech­nol­ogy web­site Giz­modo re­cently pressed Shkreli on a then-hy­po­thet­i­cal ques­tion of what he would read if locked up, he played along.

“I don’t read much fic­tion,” he said, “but I would prob­a­bly bone up on phi­los­o­phy.”


The Metropoli­tan De­ten­tion Cen­ter is shown in the Brook­lyn bor­ough of New York. In­mate No. 87850-053 has no in­ter­net. That could be the least of the in­con­ve­niences ahead for “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, whose on­line rant­ings prompted a judge this week...


Martin Shkreli is in­ter­viewed on the Fox Busi­ness Net­work in New York.

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