On June 22, 2017 Rep. Chris Collins, R-NY, was at the White House for the annual Congressional picnic when he received an email.
The chief executive of Innate Immunotherapeutics had “bad news to report,” according to court records. A multiple sclerosis drug the Australian firm had been developing failed a clinical test.
Collins, who served on the company’s board of directors, replied “Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???”
A minute later, according to court records, Collins began a series of phone calls to his son Cameron to tip him off to the test results “anticipating Cameron Collins would use it to trade and tip others.”
The test results were made public four days later and Innate stock dropped 92 percent. By then, however, Collins, his son and his son’s future father-in-law had avoided $768,000 in losses.
A grand jury returned an indictment charging the trio with insider trading. The men surrendered to the FBI in New York and were awaiting an arraignment in federal court in Manhattan, where prosecutors planned a noon news conference.
“We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name,” a statement from his attorneys said. “We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated.”
Collins, who represents the swath of suburbs between Buffalo and Rochester, was the first U.S. Congressman to endorse Donald Trump’s candidacy. He remains a staunch Trump ally.