Martin Shkreli’s journalist ex-girlfriend has said she is eagerly waiting for him with open arms after he was released from prison almost two years early on Wednesday.
Christie Smythe, a former rising Bloomberg journalist who quit her job and divorced her husband to pursue a doomed relationship with Shkreli has not been shy about voicing she still has feelings for the infamous ‘Pharma Bro.’
‘I spoke to him a few days ago,’ Smythe told The New York Post hours after Shkreli’s was released from the Allenwood state prison.
‘I hope to see him and give him a hug. I’ll always have feelings for him.’
Smythe holds no grudges after Shkreli broke up with her through his lawyers when she sensationally went public with the relationship in a 2020 Elle magazine feature.
The couple had enjoyed a secretive relationship after she broke the news of Shkreli’s arrest for securities fraud while working at Bloomberg.
Despite never consummating their relationship as they were only allowed two hugs and one close-mouthed kiss whenever she visited, the couple planned on having children and Smythe, 39, froze her eggs in hopes of one day starting a family with Shkreli.
Since the break-up, the couple has remained in contact, exchanging thoughts and supporting each other’s ventures.
Shkreli is reportedly fully supportive of Smythe’s upcoming serialized memoir ‘SMIRK: How I Fell in Love With the Most Hated Man in America’ – a reference to his infamous smirk at a congressional hearing that scrutinized his actions, which earned him the ‘Pharma Bro’ alias.
On Wednesday, Shkreli was unexpectedly released and placed o a halfway home roughly two years early after serving just five of a seven-year stretch behind bars.
Shkreli had been imprisoned at Allenwood after running a pyramid scheme to prop up his pharma empire in 2015. He was already known as one of the most hated men in America for jacking up the price of a life-saving AIDS drug from $13.50 to $750.
Christie Smythe, a former rising Bloomberg journalist who quit her job and divorced her husband to pursue a doomed relationship with Shkreli has not been shy about voicing she still has feelings for the infamous ‘Pharma Bro’
Smythe has aid she is eagerly waiting for him with open arms after he was released from prison almost two years early on Wednesday
Shkreli’s attorney, Ben Brafman, said in a statement to the New York Post: ‘I am pleased to report that Martin Shkreli has been released from Allenwood prison and transferred to a BOP halfway house after completing all programs that allowed for his prison sentence to be shortened.’
Smythe also told the Post her relationship with Shkreli had been misconstrued by the media and people who believed she was being manipulated by the criminal mastermind and saw her as his victim.
‘It was such a slap in the face to the media establishment. The matter had been settled. Martin was the villain and that was that. Then I came along trying to humanize him a little and they were like, ”Wait, this woman doesn’t fit the narrative. She must be crazy,”’ Smythe said.
Smythe said that she felt drawn to Shkreli right after meeting him but did not trust her own instincts at first. Eventually, however, she said she realized there was a human side to him.
Smythe left Bloomberg in 2018 and got divorced from her husband in 2019. She had said she would wait for Shkreli while he served the remaining of his sentence. She also froze her eggs.
Smythe quit her job and divorced her husband (pictured with her) to pursue a doomed relationship with Shkreli
The couple had enjoyed a secretive relationship after she broke the news of Shkreli’s arrest for securities fraud while working at Bloomberg
The former rising journalist then made the relationship public in an Elle profile.
‘He was very angry with me when I went public but I was worried he’d get sick in prison and nobody would stand up for him because he was so hated,’ Smythe told The Post.
‘We talked about everything. The reason why Martin and I got in a relationship in the first place was we really like talking.’
She continued: ‘He’s a huge nerd who inhales information. We’d talk about science, technological innovations and even his legal case because of my background as a legal reporter.’
Although she is now dating someone else, Smythe has made it clear in her many interviews after going public with the romance that she will always have love for Shrekly.
Smythe is now a senior writer at The Business of Business and said her journalistic career, if anything, is thriving after many people had said she threw away her life for Shkreli.
‘There were many, many doomsayers who were proclaiming the end of my journalism career, but they were wrong,’ Smythe told Elle last week.
‘This is a small world where people get a sense like, ”Oh she’s good and she knows what she’s doing.” Sometimes that outweighs ”Oh, her ex-boyfriend is a famous white collar criminal.”
But according to The Daily Beast, the startup company is struggling and several workers have stopped receiving paychecks.
Shkreli posted it on Facebook with the caption ‘Getting out of real prison is easier than getting out of Twitter prison’
Shkreli, 39, appeared to be filming something as he was driven away from jail
Shkreli – once dubbed the ‘most hated man in America’ – appeared to be wearing a prison-style grey sweatshirt and pants in a series of photos he shared after leaving jail Wednesday.
In one, a selfie, he posted it on Facebook with the caption: ‘Getting out of real prison is easier than getting out of Twitter prison.’
Another post shared that he had been picked up by Edmund Sullivan who shared two photos of them together, including one in a car. One final car photo showed that Shkreli appeared to be filming something.
The 39-year-old’s original prison release date was set for October 2023.
The court heard he defrauded investors by lying to them about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, withdrawing more money from those funds than he was entitled to get, and defrauding investors in a drug company, Retrophin, by hiding his ownership of some of its stock.
He was seen wearing a gray sweatshirt and pants upon his early release from prison and a man named Edmund Sullivan claimed to have picked him up and posted photos of the two together in the car
He took $11million of stock from his firm and shelled it out to investors in two failed hedge funds he ran.
In 2015, he became infamous for suddenly raising the price of the drug Daraprim in 2015 by 5,000 percent – from $13.50 a pill to $750. The drug treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that threatens people with weakened immune systems.
Shkreli became the ‘most hated man in America’ after the move.
Twitter users were quick to give their takes on his release, with one user writing: ‘Instead of releasing him, they should have increased #MartinShkreli’s sentence by 5,000 [percent] overnight.’
User Daniel Larkin questions on Twitter: ‘I wonder if anyone defending Martin Shkreli were to have their utility and rent/mortgage hiked 5,000 [percent] overnight would still favorably view their landlord?’
Social media users were quick to take to Twitter and Facebook to share their thoughts on his release, with many stating they should increase his sentence by ‘5,000 percent overnight’ like he did with the AIDS drug
Another user, who goes by Kara Kryptonite, said: ‘If you thought Trump supporters were loyal, just wait until you meet #MartinShkreli supporters.’
Twitter user Rodney D. Giles joked Elon Musk should consider Shkreli for a board position, writing: ‘Twitter is about to get even better. Hey @elonmusk, have you considered #martinshkreli as Chair of @Twitter?’
Another pointed out the disparity in sentencing compared to other crimes, writing: Had he stolen a loaf of bread from the supermarket, he’d be in jail for ten years. #MartinShkreli.’
How ex-hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli fell from grace
Martin Shkreli became known as the ‘most hated man in America’ after he bought up the rights to lifesaving AIDs drug Daraprim in 2014 and raised the price from $13.50 per pill to a staggering $750 per pill.
In 2018, he was sentenced to seven years in prison on an unrelated matter for lying to investors about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, withdrawing more money from those funds than he was entitled to get, and defrauding investors in a drug company, Retrophin, by hiding his ownership of some of its stock.
Shkreli was ordered to forfeit $7.3 million as part of his unrelated prison sentence and is due to be released from prison in September 2023.
At the time of his 2015 arrest for lying to investors, Shkreli was already notorious for hiking the price of Daraprim by 4,000 percent.
Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be fatal to people with the AIDS virus or other immune-system disorders including malaria and cancer.
He was also known for attacking critics on social media under the guise of ‘Pharma Bro’ and of putting a $5,000 bounty on a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair.
A user who goes by GrapeApe, joked about Shkreli’s ‘comfy’ jumpsuit, writing: ‘Get out of prison. Check. Hit up a restaurant. Check. Give up my comfy prison sweats. Never!’
A Facebook user also got in on the fun, asking Shkreli if he got an ‘race supremacy tattoos’ while on the inside, to which the ‘Pharma Bro’ dubiously replied back: ‘Uhhhh.’
The fraudster had previously been denied early release during the pandemic, despite saying to he wanted to develop a cure for COVID-19.
An NYC judge denied his bid to be released so he could start a team to solve the pandemic, which at that point, had infected more than 1.5million Americans and killed almost 90,000.
‘The court does not find that releasing Mr. Shkreli will protect the public, even though Mr. Shkreli seeks to leverage his experience with pharmaceuticals to help develop a cure for Covid-19 that he would purportedly provide at no cost,’ an order read, according to Bloomberg.
TMZ reports that court documents also said Shkreli’s intentions to discover a cure that has ‘so far eluded the best medical and scientific minds in the world working around the clock’ is exactly the type of ‘delusional self-aggrandizing behavior’ he exhibited before his 2018 conviction.
At the time, Shkreli claimed that his motivations weren’t driven by greed and that being a ‘successful two-time biopharma entrepreneur’ made him uniquely qualified to help.
However, now, he has been barred from ever working in the pharmaceutical industry again as a result of his fraud case. In addition, he still has to pay nearly $65million to seven states – New York, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – that sued him for antitrust violations.
The states alleged in their case that his company hiked the price of Daraprim and illegally created ‘a web of anticompetitive restrictions’ to prevent other companies from creating cheaper generic versions. Among other things, they alleged, Vyera blocked access to a key ingredient for the medication and to data the companies would want to evaluate the drug´s market potential.
In a 130-page decision, Cote faulted Shkreli for creating two companies that were designed to monopolize drugs so he could profit ‘on the backs’ of patients, doctors and distributors.
‘Shkreli was no side player in, or a ‘remote, unrelated’ beneficiary of Vyera’s scheme,’ Cote wrote in a 135-page opinion.
He was also known for smirking at Congress while pleading the fifth while they questioned him over the increase of the drug Daraprim, which he increase by 5,000 percent – from $13.50 a pill to $750 – in 2015
He smiled at Congress while they questioned him about a drug that treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that threatens people with weakened immune systems
‘He was the mastermind of its illegal conduct and the person principally responsible for it throughout the years.’
She said the Daraprim scheme was ‘particularly heartless and coercive,’ and a lifetime industry ban was needed because of the ‘real danger’ that Shkreli could become a repeat offender.
‘Shkreli’s anticompetitive conduct at the expense of the public health was flagrant and reckless,’ the judge wrote. He is unrepentant. Barring him from the opportunity to repeat that conduct is nothing if not in the interest of justice.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who was among the states suing Skreli, praised the ruling.
‘Envy, greed, lust, and hate, don’t just separate, but they obviously motivated Shkreli and his partner to illegally jack up the price of a life-saving drug as Americans’ lives hung in the balance,’ said James.
‘But Americans can rest easy because Martin Shkreli is a pharma bro no more.
‘A federal court has not only found that his conduct was illegal, but also banned this convicted criminal from the pharmaceutical industry for life and required him to pay nearly $65million.
‘This is on top of the $40million we’ve already secured from Vyera.
‘The rich and powerful don’t get to play by their own set of rules, so I it seems that cash doesn’t rule everything around Mr. Shkreli.
‘New Yorkers can trust that my office will do everything possible to hold the powerful accountable, in addition to fighting to protect their health and their wallets.’
Shkreli has raised eyebrows with his behavior both in business and elsewhere throughout the years.
He bought a one-of-a-kind, unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album for $2million, called members of Congress ‘imbeciles,’ taunted prosecutors in the securities-fraud case against him, got kicked off of Twitter for harassing a female journalist and spent countless hours live streaming himself from his apartment.
While awaiting sentencing on his 2017 conviction, he offered his online followers a $5,000 bounty for a lock of former Democratic presidential nominee and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s hair.
His lawyers said it was a joke, but a judge revoked Shkreli’s bail and jailed him.
At his 2018 sentencing, Shkreli choked up, admitted making many mistakes and said he’d evolved.
‘There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli,’ he said. ‘I took down Martin Shkreli.’
Vyera raised the price of the decades-old drug from $17.50 to $750 per pill after obtaining exclusive rights to it in 2015
A timeline to Martin Shkreli’s controversies and convictions
Martin Shrekli was released early from Allenwood prison on May 18, 2022, serving five years of his seven-year sentence.
Shkreli became a household name after becoming the ‘most hated man in America’ after he upped the cost of AIDS drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent, making the price soar from $13.50 a pill to $750.
August 2015: Shkreli’s Vyera Pharmaceuticals acquires the drug Daraprim
September 2015: Shkreli hikes up the price of Daraprim by 5,000 percent. He defended the outrageous price hike by saying the company needed to make a profit to continue researching and for operational costs.
December 2015: He is arrested on securities and wire fraud charges for his other pharmaceutical company Retrophin between 2009 and 2014. Prosecutors alleged he used the company’s cash and stock to pay back hedge fund investors for the money he lost.
He was released on a $5million bail at the time and he was terminated as CEO.
February 2016: He refuses to testify in front of Congress, invoking his Fifth Amendment. He smirked at lawmakers as they asked him about Daraprim’s price hike – a move he’d become known for.
January 2017: He harassed a female journalist Laura Duca on Twitter, photoshopping himself over her husband and sent her various messages. He was banned but continued to make multiple accounts.
June 2017: His trial began and he faced up to 20 years in prison.
August 2017: He is convicted of three of eight federal counts by a Brooklyn jury.
September 2017: His bail was revoked and he was sent to prison on September 13 after reportedly threatening a former presidential nominee on social media.
He offered $5,000 on Facebook for someone to grab Hillary Clinton’s hair while she was on her book tour.
‘The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on HRC’s book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must confirm the sequences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton,’ he wrote at the time.
March 2018: He was sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors.
Shkreli cried in court, saying: ‘I want the people who came here today to support me to understand one thing, the only person to blame for me being here today is me. I took down Martin Shkreli.’
May 2020 : He is denied his request for early release. The ‘Pharma Bro’ cited that he wanted out to assemble a team to find a cure for COVID-19. A judge did not believe him.
May 2022: He is released early from an Allenwood prison after serving five years of his seven-year sentence. He will finish the rest of his sentence a halfway house.