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New York Rep. Christopher Collins Indicted On Insider Trading Charges

New York Rep. Chris Collins was arrested by the FBI on insider trading charges.  (Congress.gov)

New York Republican Rep. Christopher Collins has been indicted on insider trading charges, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

The indictment also names his son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of his son’s fiancée. The fraud counts relate to securities of an Australian biotechnology company called Innate Immunotherapeutics, where the congressman served on the board.

“Christopher Collins, the defendent, violated the duties he owed to Innate by passing material; nonpublic information regarding the Drug Trial results to his son, Cameron Collins, the defendent, so that [his son] could use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others,” the indictment states. “Cameron Collins traded on the inside information and passed it to Stephen Zarsky.”

Among the charges, the defendants are accused of multiple counts of securities fraud, along with one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count each of making false statements.

The Republican congressman, who has served New York’s 27th District since 2013, surrendered to federal agents in Manhattan on Wednesday morning and is expected to appear in federal court in lower Manhattan later in the day.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York plans to hold a press conference at noon to detail the charges against Collins and the two others.

Attorneys representing Collins released the following statement on Wednesday: “We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in Court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name. It is notable that even the government does not allege that Congressman Collins traded a single share of Innate Therapeutics stock. We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated.”

In 2017, the House Ethics Committee probed the congressman at the behest of the late Rep. Louise Slaughter. She authored the STOCK Act, which barred lawmakers and aides from using propietary information to trade securities.

The Ethics Committee report on Collins was muddled. It did not punish Collins. But it did not exonerate him either.

When asked about the report by Fox News, Collins at the time called Slaughter “a despicable human being,” a rare moment of course language used by a U.S. congressman to describe a colleague. Collins disputed the findings and said he has “always followed ethics.”

Collins was also one of the early supporters in Congress of President Trump.