Rep. Chris Collins Arrested by FBI for Securities Fraud

Rep. Chris Collins (R., N.Y.) / Getty Images

Rep. Chris Collins (R., N.Y.) was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday and indicted on charges related to securities fraud.

"Rep. Christopher Collins of New York has been arrested and indicted on charges tied to securities fraud. He surrendered himself to the FBI this morning," NBC news reporter Tom Winter tweeted. He added that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District will give a press conference on the arrest at noon.

 

The Department of Justice released a statement that said the indictment is related to an Australian biotechnology company, Innate Immunotherapeutics. Collins served on the company's board of directors.

The congressman's son and his son's soon to be father-in-law have also been indicted on charges related to insider trading.

"Rep. Chris Collins, his son Cameron and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins’s fiancée, have been charged with insider trading relating to securities of an Australian biotechnology company," ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky reported.

Attorneys representing Collins said in response to the indictment that they are confident the congressmen will be "completely vindicated and exonerated," NBC producer Alex Moe reported.

Insider trading occurs when an individual has access to information that isn't available to the public and trades stocks or securities based off the insider information. In 2012, Congress passed the STOCK Act to make it illegal for members of Congress to buy and sell stocks based off information they receive as a result of their government position.

The House Ethics Committee investigated Collins' ties to the Australian biotechnology company in 2017 after the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent watchdog group, recommended the committee launch a full investigation.

The Office of Congressional Ethics discovered there was "substantial reason to believe" Collins violated House rules and federal law by using inside information to make transactions with the company's stock. In addition, the watchdog group alleged Collins used his office to benefit the company by mentioning certain drugs at committee hearings and pushing Innate drugs to National Institute of Health officials.

Collins was one of President Donald Trump's earliest supporters and acted as the congressional liaison for Trump's 2016 campaign.