Republican congressman Chris Collins, one of the first U.S. lawmakers to declare support for Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, was indicted by federal prosecutors Wednesday on charges of securities fraud connected to an alleged insider trading scheme.
Collins was a member of Innate's board of directors and held almost 17 percent of the stock.
Collins passed nonpublic information about Innate's drug trial results to his son in order to help him "make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others", the indictment alleges.
An indictment obtained from a federal grand jury also charges Collins' son, Cameron Collins, as well as the father of his fiancee, Stephen Zarsky.
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.
Lawyers for Collins released a statement expressing confidence he would be "completely vindicated and exonerated".
Collins, 68, is set to appear in Manhattan federal court Wednesday afternoon.
It is rare for prosecutors to indict a sitting elected official, particularly in an election year, and in the case of Collins, prosecutors at the Southern District of NY carefully weighed when to bring the charges, staying mindful of the upcoming election cycle in November, according to people familiar with the matter.
Collins is estimated to be the 13th wealthiest member of Congress, with a projected net worth of $44 million.
The congressman will speak to the charges later Wednesday, they said.
Attorneys for Collins said they would "mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name". When the House's ethics committee began investigating the stock trades a year ago, his spokesperson called it a "partisan witch hunt". "He surrendered himself to the Federal Bureau of Investigation this morning", NBC news reporter Tom Winter tweeted.
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