A U.S. judge on Wednesday ordered Martin Shkreli to be jailed while he awaits sentencing for securities fraud, citing a Facebook post in which the former drug company executive nicknamed the “Pharma Bro” offered a $5,000 reward for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair.
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn said the Sept. 4 post, which prompted a call from the U.S. Secret Service, showed Shkreli posed a danger to the public that warranted revoking his $5 million bails. U.S. prosecutors had moved to jail Shkreli last Thursday. Shkreli, who earned the nickname “Pharma Bro” for exploits that included increasing the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, apologized for the post in a letter to Matsumoto on Tuesday, calling it an “awkward attempt at humor or satire.”
Shkreli said in the post, since deleted, that he needed the hair to “confirm the sequences I have,” an apparent reference to genetic testing.
Shkreli was convicted in August of defrauding investors of two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. He was acquitted of stealing from a drug company he later founded, Retrophin Inc, to pay them back.
Though the charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years, Shkreli will likely serve much less, in part because none of the investors lost money.
Patients and U.S. lawmakers were outraged in 2015 when Shkreli, then chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of anti-infection drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent.
Since his December 2015 arrest, he has clashed frequently with critics on social media. Twitter banned him from its platform in January for harassing a female journalist, another incident prosecutors cited in their motion to revoke his bail.
(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)