Insider Trading On The White House Lawn: Rep. Chris Collins Arrested By The FBI
On Wednesday, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY-27), Donald Trump’s first congressional endorser, surrendered to the FBI. Collins, along with his son Cameron Collins, the father of his son’s fiancee Stephen Zarsky, and other unnamed co-conspirators, are being charged with insider trading and lying to federal investigators about their alleged criminal conduct. The indictment alleges that after Rep. Collins received information about a failed drug trial at an Australian biotech company he owned stock in, he immediately contacted his family so they could unload shares. After the information about the failed trial was made public, the stock dropped 92%. Collins and his family avoided hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
NBC News chronicled the events best:
Collins was at a congressional picnic at the White House on June 22 when Innate’s CEO sent an email to the company’s board of directors that the trial was a bust, according to the indictment.
“I have bad news to report,” the email began.
Collins quickly replied: “Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???”
Then, within six minutes, came a flurry of phone calls to reach his son, who owned more than 2 percent of Innate stock, prosecutors said. He finally reached his son, Cameron Collins, who allegedly passed the information from his father to Zarsky and other unnamed co-conspirators, who then engaged in “timely trades” of the stock.
Cameron Collins unloaded his Innate shares, as did his fiancée and Zarsky, in the days that followed. Zarsky’s wife and a friend also benefited from the move, prosecutors said.
On June 26, news of the failed drug trial was made public, and the stock took a nosedive. The defendants ultimately managed to avoid more than $768,000 in losses, prosecutors allege.
The SEC also announced Wednesday it has filed securities fraud charges against Collins in the case.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) responded:
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) August 8, 2018
Reports of shady behavior surrounding Collins aren’t new, in fact, Politico reporter Jake Sherman overheard Collins discussing similar conduct last year.
Preview of today’s PM Playbook … what I overheard Chris Collins saying in the capitol in January 2017. pic.twitter.com/xwMiDcBKRc
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) August 8, 2018
Earlier this year, The Daily Beast’s Justin Glawe reported that Collins might have played a role in planting a fake Green Party candidacy for his seat, in an attempt to sabotage his Democratic challenger.
Not only did Collins have his re-election bid pretty much locked up, but he almost surely was involved in planting a fake Green Party candidate to siphon votes from the Democrats. So I should just book by November trip to Buffalo, huh? https://t.co/yq3TnpsFSX
— jg (@JustinGlawe) August 8, 2018
Needless to say, after Wednesday’s indictment, the Democrat running for his seat, Nate McMurray, just got handed quite the opportunity.