Congressman indicted on insider trading charges

Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) has been charged with alleged securities fraud, wire fraud, and false statements, the Justice Department has announced.

Posted: Aug 9, 2018 5:07 AM
Updated: Aug 9, 2018 5:20 AM

Federal prosecutors in New York on Wednesday charged New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins, his son and another man with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and false statements stemming from an alleged insider trading scheme centered on an Australian pharmaceutical company.

Collins, who was the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump's presidential bid, surrendered Wednesday morning at his attorney's office in Manhattan, according to the FBI.

Prosecutors at the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York alleged in an indictment that Collins and the other defendants used nonpublic information about the results of a drug trial to trade on the stock of the pharmaceutical company, Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, of which Collins was a board member.

That allowed them, prosecutors allege, to avoid more than $768,000 in losses they would have incurred if they had traded the stock after the drug trial results became public.

The 30-page indictment highlights that the congressman both received the information about the failed drug trial from the company's CEO and then repeatedly dialed his son, Cameron Collins, while the elder Collins was attending the annual congressional picnic at the White House on June 22, 2017.

"At the time Christopher Collins, the defendant, received this email, he was attending the Congressional Picnic at the White House," the indictment says. At 7:10 p.m., he responded to the CEO: "Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???"

Lawyers for Collins said the congressman would be "completely vindicated."

"We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name," Collins' attorneys, Jonathan Barr and Jonathan New, said in a statement on Wednesday. "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."

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that Collins would be removed from the House Energy and Commerce Committee "until the matter is settled."

"While his guilt or innocence is a question for the courts to settle, the allegations against Rep. Collins demand a prompt and thorough investigation by the House Ethics Committee," Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said in a statement. "Insider trading is a clear violation of the public trust."

It is relatively rare for prosecutors to indict a sitting elected official, particularly in an election year, and in the case of Collins, prosecutors at the Southern District of New York carefully weighed when to bring the charges, staying mindful of the upcoming election cycle in November, according to people familiar with the matter.

Justice Department guidelines for federal prosecutors recommend that they avoid taking investigative or prosecutorial steps that could sway voters' decisions, and the controversy over former FBI Director James Comey's public announcements during the 2016 presidential election cycle concerning the investigation of Hillary Clinton's email use have brought even closer scrutiny of such decisions.

The House Ethics Committee last October disclosed that it was investigating Collins for potentially violating federal law and House rules regarding insider trading. 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. The ethics committee announced in the release of the report that it would start a review of Collins.

The report details how Collins met with officials at the National Institutes of Health to discuss the development of a drug made by Innate, a company whose board he served on.

"There is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Collins shared material nonpublic information in the purchase of Innate stock, in violation of House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law," according to the report by the non-partisan ethics office, released by the Ethics Committee last fall.

The House Ethics Committee declined to comment on the indictment Wednesday.

This story has been updated and will continue to update with additional developments.

Huntsville/Redstone
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
Muscle Shoals
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 58°
Huntsville/Madison
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 58°
Decatur
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 58°
Fort Payne
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 59°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 710427

Reported Deaths: 8970
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby790251186
Davidson73248697
Knox40335452
Hamilton35983347
Rutherford34271298
Unassigned23946140
Williamson22259150
Sumner18862237
Out of TN1644883
Montgomery15200153
Wilson14878167
Sullivan13002221
Blount12382136
Washington12206206
Maury11337131
Bradley11263101
Sevier10877123
Putnam10200152
Madison9364186
Robertson793088
Hamblen7261119
Anderson7031116
Greene6779117
Tipton639571
Coffee578584
Gibson5767117
Dickson559082
Cumberland556777
Bedford546092
Roane536083
McMinn524674
Lawrence524369
Carter5215121
Warren511656
Loudon510352
Jefferson497078
Dyer487487
Monroe471964
Hawkins461473
Franklin426067
Fayette415953
Obion406683
Rhea391858
Lincoln388347
Cocke359063
Marshall358140
Cheatham350332
Weakley345948
Campbell338742
Henderson338659
Giles334476
Carroll318362
White317749
Hardeman315854
Hardin306650
Lauderdale299934
Macon294751
Wayne270325
Henry269960
Overton260546
McNairy249042
DeKalb247443
Haywood245650
Marion236233
Smith235430
Trousdale230617
Scott230432
Claiborne230033
Hickman229836
Fentress217835
Grainger217240
Johnson205335
Morgan196616
Crockett183738
Chester179039
Bledsoe178211
Unicoi170147
Cannon161721
Lake158522
Polk150517
Decatur149027
Union145725
Grundy143622
Sequatchie142120
Humphreys137717
Benton134135
Lewis131121
Meigs119216
Stewart112220
Jackson106624
Clay96526
Perry96325
Houston95226
Moore8319
Pickett69220
Van Buren6758
Hancock4227

Community Events