U.S. Rep Christopher Collins Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading

Christopher Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for President, pleaded guilty to insider trading along with his son, on December 9, 2019. He had to change his plea, after initially claiming he was completely innocent and claiming that he would adamantly defend all charges against him. He now says he is “embarrassed and dismayed” by his actions.

According to the AP, “Collins was attending the Congressional Picnic at the White House in 2017 when he received an email from the company’s chief executive saying that a drug developed to treat multiple sclerosis had proven to be a clinical failure.” Following the receipt of that email, he immediately ran out to the White House lawn to tell his son the news. His son, Cameron Collins, began selling his shares the next day, and alongside Cameron’s fiancee’s father, they saved themselves from over $800,000 in losses when the stock would plummet over 90% following the company’s subsequent press release sharing the news of the failed trials.

News regarding this controversy first arose in 2018, a few months before the November election. Collins suspended his campaign, but later continued it, and would win reelection, despite the charges pending against him. Collins’s guilty plea came just a day after he resigned from Congress. Governor Andrew Cuomo will have to set up a special election to replace Collins, and Cuomo has said he is unsure exactly what the timing of that is going to be.

The guilty pleas are a part of a settlement with the SEC, who write “The settlements, which are subject to court approval, bar Christopher Collins from serving as an officer or director of a public company and require Cameron Collins and Stephen Zarsky to disgorge the losses they avoided as a result of their insider trading.” The AP writes that Collins could have received up to four years in prison. It is unclear if there will be further sentencing during the scheduled January 17th hearing.

This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as, and does not constitute legal advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship.  Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.

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