New York Congressman Chris Collins indicted on insider trading charges

Lamar Ellis
August 8, 2018

Republican U.S. Rep. Christopher Collins of NY has been indicted on charges that he used inside information about a biotechnology company to make illicit stock trades.

According to the newly-unsealed indictment, timely sales based on inside information allowed Cameron Collins, Zarsky and others to avoid losses totaling more than $768,000 when the biotech company, Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, failed a key clinical trial in June of a year ago.

Collins was on the board of Innate Immunotherapetutics, one of its largest shareholders, and had access to nonpublic information about the company.

In the 22-page civil complaint, Collins, his son Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron's fiancee, are accused of insider trading.

In a statement published by the Times, Jonathan Barr and Jonathan New - serving as attorneys for Collins - responded to the allegation.

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

In October, a congressional ethics investigation determined there was "a substantial reason to believe" Rep. Collins violated federal law when he promoted stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics using insider information. In 2012, Congress passed the STOCK Act to make it illegal for members of Congress to buy and sell stocks based off information they receive as a result of their government position.

This led to three trades, it is alleged, that helped the defendants avoid $768,000 USA in losses.

The lawyers said Collins will say more on the indictment later on Wednesday. "Congressman Collins will have more to say on this issue later today".

An early supporter of Donald Trump, Collins, who represents suburbs of Buffalo and Rochester, was the first congressman to endorse him, in February of 2016.

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