Federal prosecutors have indicted and charged U.S. Congressman Chris Collins with alleged securities fraud, wire fraud and false statements. The Republican representative, whose district covers the Buffalo region, reportedly surrendered to the FBI from inside his attorney's Manhattan office on Wednesday morning.
Collins is accused of trading insider information related to Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics—whose board he served on—before it became public that the company had failed a drug test. Collins's son Cameron is also facing charges, along with the father of Cameron's fiancée, Stephen Zarsky.
In June of 2017, Collins "violated the duties he owed to Innate by passing material, nonpublic information regarding the Drug Trial results to his son...so that [his son] could use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others," according to the indictment (below) filed Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York.
Last October, Buffalo News reported that the Office of Congressional Ethics had "substantial reason to believe" Collins had violated federal law by touting the obscure Australian biotech stock based on insider information. The ethics body also believed he may have violated House ethics rules by persuading officials with the National Institute of Health to meet with company staff.
"The 155 pages of evidence released with the Office of Congressional Ethics report collectively portray a congressman working hard on behalf of an Australian company in possible violation of U.S. law and House ethics rules," the newspaper noted at the time.
The western New York representative was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump, and has since become a regular fixture on national television, defending the president and sparring with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“He knows we’re all in 100%, have been from Day One, defending him, promoting his agenda and his accomplishments,” Collins said of Trump last year.
Prosecutors are expected to hold a press conference at noon. We'll update as more information becomes available. You can read the full indictment below: