Former U.S. congressman Collins sentenced to 26 months for insider
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[January 18, 2020]
By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chris Collins, a
former U.S. congressman from New York who was an early backer of
President Donald Trump, was sentenced to 26 months in prison and fined
$200,000 on Friday after pleading guilty to taking part in an insider
Before the sentence was handed down, Collins, 69, said in highly
emotional remarks to the judge that he felt his life was over and that
he was still ashamed to see his former constituents after pleading
guilty to charges of conspiracy and making false statements last
"My life has been shattered, my reputation has been shattered, but
worse, my family has been shattered," he said in federal court in
Manhattan, at times losing his voice to emotion during remarks he
described as "probably the last act I'll do in public."
His wife, Mary, wept behind him, sitting next to their daughter as
Collins described the "dark, dark place" he was in after his conviction.
"I climbed out of it because of her," he said of his wife.
He also begged U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick to be merciful next
week when sentencing his son, Cameron, who was also convicted as part of
the insider trading scheme.
Collins was convicted of trading on insider information while a board
member and 16.8% stakeholder of Australian biotechnology company Innate
Immunotherapeutics Ltd. A day before pleading guilty last year, he
resigned his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives representing New
York's 27th District.
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Chris Collins, former U.S. Representative for New York's 27th
congressional district arrives to New York Federal Court for his
sentence in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S.,
January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
After learning from an email sent by Innate Immunotherapeutics'
chief executive that an experimental multiple sclerosis drug had
failed a clinical trial, Collins relayed the news to his son,
enabling the son to sell shares before the news became public and
eroded their value. His son also passed the tip on to others.
Collins had faced a maximum of five years in prison. His lawyers
argued that he should be confined at home. They said he had made a
bad decision because he was overcome with disappointment on learning
the drug had failed.
"People who have received extremely devastating news sometimes make
really stupid decisions," Jonathan Barr, one of Collins' lawyers,
told the court.
The judge disagreed.
"I don't view this as just a spur of the moment loss of judgment,"
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Leslie Adler
and Sonya Hepinstall)
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