GOP Rep. Chris Collins Indicted on Insider Trading Charges

Charlene Craig
August 8, 2018

According to the indictment, Collins, 68, got early word that a drug the company developed to treat multiple sclerosis wasn't performing well in a medical trial and passed on the tip to his son, Cameron.

The pro-Trump politician, who is up for re-election in November, has been a member of Congress since 2013, representing suburban and rural areas around the New York State city of Buffalo. "We look forward to addressing these charges in court".

Rep. Christopher Collins, a Republican congressman from NY, was arrested Wednesday and charged with insider trading related to an Australian biotechnology company.

Collins gained personal benefit and provided nonpublic information to his son Cameron Collins who sold almost $1.4 million of Innate Immunotherapeutics shares, according to a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The congressman, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky-the father of Cameron's fiancee-were charged Wednesday with securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements to federal officials. He was also one of the company's largest shareholders, according to federal prosecutors.

On the day after the trial results were released, the company's stock lost 92 percent of its value. The trade happened on privileged information that Collins would have gotten via his role on the company's board of directors, Berman alleged, which is a major legal no-no. The results were publicly announced on June 26. By the time he sold the shares in February 2017, they were worth roughly 70 cents each, giving him a profit of more than $150,000, according to ProPublica. Over-the-counter trading continued, however, in the US, where Cameron Collins' and Zarky's shares were held.

"This was the drop that was anticipated by the co-conspirators", Berman said. "He surrendered himself to the Federal Bureau of Investigation this morning", NBC news reporter Tom Winter tweeted.

A statement from Collins's attorneys was posted on his House website.

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Attorneys for Collins said they would "mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name".

"The Congressman did not trade his shares, because of restrictions involving Innate shares in Australia, but he "instead tipped" his son, who quickly moved the next morning 'to sell approximately 16,508 shares of Innate".

Chris Collins' lawyers responded swiftly, insisting he will be "completely vindicated".

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