Christopher Collins — a New York Republican congressman representing New York’s 27th congressional since 2013 — has been indicted alongside other defendants on charges including securities fraud, according to Reuters. The indictment bearing allegations of insider trading relates to Collins et al. and their relationship with Australian biotechnology company Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd.
The indictment also names further defendants including Collins’ son, Cameron Collins, in addition to Cameron Collins’ father-in-law to be, Stephen Zarsky, according to Fox News.
The verbatim text of the indictment itself makes it clear what the material charges pertinent to the case are.
“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… Cameron Collins traded on the inside information and passed it to Stephen Zarsky.”
In sum, the three defendants avoided over three-quarters of a million dollars in potential portfolio losses via this passage of privileged information from the boardroom table, as reported by CNBC. This information comes directly from the wording of the indictment.
In a statement delivered to CNBC, the legal counsel for the defendants made it very clear that they plan to “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.”
This indictment brings back into the spotlight a previous political connection shared by Congressman Collins with former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Price having been rigorously questioned during his confirmation hearings early last year regarding a tip he had allegedly received from Collins on the subject of Innate.
Congressman Collins has already been taking fire over his involvement with Innate, having been the fixture of a probe led by the House Ethics Committee last year, in which the Committee eventually came to the conclusion that “there is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Collins shared material nonpublic information in the purchase of Innate stock.”
The House Ethics Committee recommended digging deeper, pushing for further review. It would seem that further investigations were in fact conducted, leading to this laying of formal charges against Rep. Collins and his named associates.
The charges being laid against the trio include multiple counts of securities fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count per defendant of making false statements.
The Republican legislator gave himself up to federal agents in Manhattan, offering no visible resistance, and is expected to make an appearance in a federal court in lower Manhattan later on today. In addition to his court appearance, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York has scheduled a press conference to speak to the proceedings and all matters related to them at noon today, detailing the charges levied against the three men.
Rep. Christopher Collins was the first sitting congressman to endorse President Donald Trump, according to CNN, and has supported the president’s initiatives in the past — from the so-called travel ban to the current administration’s sweeping tax cuts.