GOP Congressman Arrested on Insider Trading Charges

08 August, 2018, 20:28 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Rep. Chris Collins R-NY. speaks in Cleveland

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.

Also charged were his son Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins' fiancée.

The indictment charges Collins with notifying his son, Cameron Collins, of the failed test just minutes after he learned the news.

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The U.S. Attorneys Office declined to offer more details to The Hill.

Collins' seat was considered vulnerable even before the charges were announced, and he was targeted in a push by Andrew Cuomo, the governor, and other New York Democrats seeking to unseat him as the party looks to take control of the House of Representatives in November's midterm elections.

Lawyers for Collins released a statement expressing confidence he would be "completely vindicated and exonerated". He is accused of using inside information about a biotechnology company to make illicit stock trades. Collins, per the indictment, served on the company's board of directors. Prosecutors say Cameron Collins then passed the information along to Zarsky, who made a trade.

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The firm's stock plunged by more than 92% after it was revealed that a multiple sclerosis drug it was developing had failed trials.

Collins was one of President Donald Trump's earliest supporters and acted as the congressional liaison for Trump's 2016 campaign. The outside, non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics began a review of Collins' activity in March 2017 and voted to send its findings to the House ethics panel that July, which can formally launch investigations and recommend any sanctions against any lawmaker it determines has broken any rules.

According to the indictment, the elder Collins was not able to sell his stock because it was held in Australia, where trading had been halted in advance of the company's announcement.

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