A former Congressman will serve for insider trading for nearly five years in prison, particularly after coming to embody “the cynical notion that those in power who make the laws are not obliged to follow them,” prosecutors said Monday.
Christopher Collins, 69, is sentenced to life in prison Friday after the Republican in October pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit securities fraud and lying to law enforcement officials about giving his son inside information about a biotech company.
His lawyers say their client, “humbled, penitent, and remorseful,” should not spend any time behind bars.
Prosecutors also said his crime was “aggravated by his utter gratuitousness” because Collins didn’t need any money at the time, since he had $13.8 million in assets, not even including another $6.9 million owed to him.
Prosecutors were also critical of a court’s Probation Department recommendation that Collins be sentenced to just one year and one day in jail.
Investigators, however, acknowledged that Cameron Collins is also rich, with a net worth of more than $21 million including more than $1.2 million in cash and a Florida home estimated at almost $2 million.
“In engaging insider trading and then lying to federal agents to hide the evidence, and continuing to actively serve in the House of Representatives during that time, Collins came to reflect the cynical notion that those in control who make the laws are not obliged to follow them,” wrote the prosecutors.
Prosecutors said Collins should be punished to 46 to 57 months at the top of standard federal sentencing guidelines, in part because his offense was brazen and to “assure the public that those in authority are not above the rules.”
Prosecutors have cited several letters to the judge expressing profound frustration and disappointment with the actions of the former congressman.
They acknowledged that Collins ‘ own sentencing submission had stressed his strong moral compass with frequent reference to his Boy Scouts experience, but the prosecutors said this “just underlines that he was well qualified to know better.”
Before his election to New York’s 27th Congressional District in 2012, Collins has served western New York.
Collins pleaded guilty after being charged with leaking information about a biopharmaceutical corporation, so his son and friends could prevent stock losses of $800,000 before an announcement of a drug trial failure caused the stock price to drop by 92%.
The indictment said Collins heard the bad news in an email from Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd’s chief executive, when Collins attended the White House Congressional Picnic on 22 June 2017.