Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for insider trading related to an Australian biotechnology company. His son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron's fiancee, were also indicted on the same charges.
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 goal", according to the indictment.
It is 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 NY carefully weighed when to bring the charges, staying mindful of the upcoming election cycle in November, according to people familiar with the matter. "This follows the company previously suggesting a great response to its drug and touting that it stood to generate as much as $3 billion in profits in this country alone", Slaughter said in a statement. Price and Collins purchased almost $1 million in discounted stock in the company.
Collins was the first congressman to endorse Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and has been a loyal defender of Trump's agenda on Capitol Hill. The company developed a drug meant to treat Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.
Collins, who resigned in April from the Innate board, has denied wrongdoing.
In total, the three defendants avoided "over $768,000 in losses that they would have otherwise incurred" had they sold their stock after the information was made public, according to the indictment. Collins, 68, was charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and making false statements, according to the indictment.
The House Ethics Committee had been investigating the allegations against Collins since August of 2017.