Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) surrendered to the FBI Wednesday and was charged with insider trading, The New York Times reports.
Collins is accused of selling his stock in Australian drug company Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited before it released the results of its failed pharmaceutical trial.
According to the indictment, the 68-year-old made the illegal trade while attending the Congressional Picnic at the White House in June of last year.
Collins allegedly received an email from the company’s head informing him of the failed trial. Fifteen minutes later, Collins called his son, who then sold their shares in the company and managed to avoid losses of more than $570,000.
Via The New York Times:
According to a federal indictment, Innate Immunotherapeutics’ chief executive, Simon Wilkinson, sent the email to the company’s board of directors, including Mr. Collins, at 6:55 p.m. on June 22, 2017, explaining that the test for the drug, known in its trial stage as MIS416, had failed.
Mr. Collins, prosecutors say, was attending the Congressional Picnic at the White House at the time. Fifteen minutes later, the indictment said, he wrote back to Mr. Wilkinson, saying, “Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???”
Phone records included in the indictment show that Mr. Collins immediately called his son, missing him six times before they had a brief conversation. Prosecutors contend that it was during that conversation that Mr. Collins told his son about the failed drug test. The following morning, at 7:42 a.m., the indictment said, Cameron Collins placed an online order with his brokerage firm, selling more than 16,500 shares of Innate Immunotherapeutic stock.
Later that day, prosecutors said, Cameron Collins, 25, placed 17 more orders to sell the stock. Three days later, he placed an additional 36 sell orders. He also passed the tip on to others including his fiancée, who was not named in the indictment, and his fiancée’s father, Stephen Zarsky, 66, who was also charged.
On June 27, 2017, the day after Cameron Collins made his last trades selling Innate Immunotherapeutic stock, news of its failed drug test became public and the stock plummeted by more than 90 percent.
Prosecutors also said Collins actively tried to hide his involvement, even making a staff member issue a statement saying he did not sell any shares. Prosecutors said the statement was “written in a manner designed to mislead the public.”
Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump.