Republican congressman Chris Collins indicted for securities fraud

Republican congressman Chris Collins indicted for securities fraud

Rep. Chris Collins, a Republican representative from NY, has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for securities fraud and wire fraud.

The indictment (via Buzzfeed's Michael Hayes) charges Collins and his son with insider trading relating to securities of Innate Immunotherapeutics - an Australian biotech company.

The charges were announced and the indictment unsealed in New York City on Wednesday.

Collins was one of President Trump's earliest congressional supporters, becoming the first member of the House to endorse Mr. Trump for president during the 2016 campaign.

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

Image Zoom
Image Zoom

His son then traded on that inside information and passed it to Zarsky, along with numerous unnamed co-conspirators, "so that they could utilize the information for the same objective", according to the indictment.

In a statement to CNBC, attorneys for Collins vowed to "mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name". "We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated", the statement reads. Indeed, Collins lost $17 million when the company's stock pice dipped down to five cents, according to reports from last June.

In total, the indictment alleges that the insider trading scheme helped the defendants "avoid over $768,000 in losses that they would have otherwise incurred if they had sold their stock in Innate" after the nonpublic information had been released.

According to prosecutors, Collins made the call to his son to get him to dump shares of the stock so that they wouldn't have to take a massive financial hit when news of the drug's failure broke.

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