Federal prosecutors in Manhattan accused Mr. Collins of sharing with his son the results of a failed drug trial completed by Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd., a biotechnology company headquartered in Sydney. The fraud counts relate to securities of an Australian biotechnology company called Innate Immunotherapeutics, where the congressman served on the board. The charges were announced and the was indictment unsealed in New York City on Wednesday.
The advocacy group Public Citizen filed a request for an investigation of Collins' stock dealings with the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Securities and Exchange Commission in January of 2017.
Also charged were his son Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins' fiancée. Indeed, Collins lost $17 million when the company's stock pice dipped down to five cents, according to reports from last June. "We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated", Baker Hostetler attorneys Johnathan Barr and Jonathan New said in the statement.
Collins, who is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, was the first member to publicly endorse Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Collins's lawyers say they will clear Collins' "good name" and cite the indictment's lack of any allegation that Collins himself "traded a single share of Innate Therapeutics stock".
The trades allowed Collins, his son, and Zarsky to avoid $768,000 in losses, according to the indictment.
"Throughout my tenure in Congress I have followed all rules and ethical guidelines when it comes to my personal investments", Collins said in an statement when he resigned.