NY congressman arrested on insider trading charges

US Representative Chris Collins

NY congressman Chris Collins was arrested Wednesday and charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that Collins a year ago passed "material, nonpublic information" about Australian biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics to his son so he "could use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others".

The defendants are accused of securities fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements, all related to publicly traded stocks of an Australian biotechnology company, Innate Immunotherapeutics.

While the drug failed testing tanked the company's share price by 92 percent, Collins' tip allowed all three men to avoid almost $800,000 in losses, according to the indictment.

The Justice Department announced an indictment against Collins, his son Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins's fiancee Wednesday.

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In October, a congressional ethics investigation determined there was "a substantial reason to believe" Rep. Collins violated federal law when he promoted stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics using insider information.

Lawyers for Collins released a statement expressing confidence he would be "completely vindicated and exonerated". "Congressman Collins will have more to say on this issue later today".

The Republican congressman, who has served New York's 27th District since 2013, surrendered to federal agents in Manhattan on Wednesday morning and is expected to appear in federal court in lower Manhattan later in the day.

According to prosecutors, Collins made the call to his son to get him to dump shares of the stock so that they wouldn't have to take a massive financial hit when news of the drug's failure broke.

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