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Martin Shkreli is under investigation after report he’s using a cellphone in prison

Martin Shkreli is under investigation after report he’s using a cellphone in prison
Martin Shkreli, shown in 2017, is serving a seven-year prison term for securities fraud. (Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said Friday that it is investigating the conduct of notorious former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli after a report he was using a cellphone to help run a drug company from the New Jersey prison where he is serving a seven-year term.

Shkreli even used the contraband phone to try to fire the company’s chief executive, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company is Phoenixus, a firm previously known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, which Shkreli helped found.

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“When there are allegations of misconduct, they are thoroughly investigated and appropriate action is taken if such allegations are proven true,” the bureau said in a statement. “This allegation is currently under investigation.”

Inmates found with a phone — a “greatest severity level” act — face an additional year in prison being added to their sentence and a fine, the bureau said.

Shkreli’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, declined to comment.

Shkreli, 35, went from rising star in the hedge fund world to Wall Street bad boy and felon. He was best known for raising the price of a lifesaving drug by 5,000% and smirking through interviews and congressional hearings, as well as beefing with rappers, reporters and almost anyone else in his path. Shkreli was repeatedly banned from Twitter. Once, in a Facebook post, he offered a $5,000 bounty to anyone who could get a strand of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's hair, including the follicle. (A judge deemed that stunt “solicitation of an assault.”)

He was arrested in 2015 and sentenced last year after a federal jury found he had defrauded investors in his hedge funds, including repeatedly lying to investors about major losses.

According to the Journal, Shkreli has not wasted much time since being imprisoned. He has made friends (fellow inmates nicknamed “Krispy” and “D-Block”), cares for prison cats and continues to wield significant power over Phoenixus, a privately held Swiss pharmaceutical company.

He estimates that the company could be worth $3.7 billion by the time he is released, the Journal said.

The Associated Press was used in compiling this report.

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