The infamous Wall Street executive Martin Shkreli has been released from jail early. The notorious “Pharma Bro” become publicly despised after he raised the price of an AIDS drug by 5,000% in 2015. He was sent to prison for seven years in 2017 after being found guilty of defrauding investors.
“Shkreli was released from a low-security federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, and transferred to community confinement overseen by the bureau,” the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) spokesperson said in a statement to Forbes. The “Pharma Bro’s” attorney Ben Brafman also told The Washington Post that his early release was because he had completed “all programs that allowed for his prison sentence to be shortened.”
A picture of Shkreli was posted to Twitter by a man named Edmund Sullivan, seemingly the first pic of the former executive since prison. Sullivan donned a shirt that read “FREE SHKRELI.”
It’s not pic.twitter.com/P03HdLojtc
— Edmund Sullivan (@edmundsullivan) May 18, 2022
“Pharma Bro,” Shkreli’s insane price hike of a life-saving AIDS drug made him the “most hated man in America,” but the rap world had a particular disdain for him. In 2015, Shkreli emerged as the highest bidder for the Wu-Tang Clan’s 2015 album Once Upon a Time In Shaolin, their seventh album of which only one copy existed. Following Shkreli’s arrest, the project – which had been recorded in secret over the span of six years and is the most expensive piece of music ever sold – was confiscated and re-sold by the U.S. government.
In an e-mail sent to HipHopDX, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn M. Kasulis revealed the value of the album’s resale officially covered the outstanding balance of Shkreli’s $7.4 million fines that he owed after his conviction.
“Through the diligent and persistent efforts of this Office and its law enforcement partners, Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself,” she said. “With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete.”
Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, which was marketed to be “both a work of art and an audio artifact,” included a hand-carved nickel-silver box and a leather-bound manuscript that featured a certificate of authenticity. While the new owner was anonymous at first, it was revealed by The New York Times in 2021 that a collective of 74 people known as PleasrDAO had purchased the album. A crypto company that had developed a reputation for purchasing rare art, the collective purchased the album for $4 million.
Questlove took to Twitter to react to Shkreli’s early release and summed it up perfectly.
“Apparently—— Wu Tang Clan is Somethin To Fuck Wit,” he wrote.
Apparently—— Wu Tang Clan is Somethin To Fuck Wit 🤷🏾♂️ https://t.co/jl9QTVCUTG
— ?uesto Is The Army, Better Yet The Navy (@questlove) May 18, 2022