Prosecutors find maximum prison sentence for ex-Rep. Chris Collins

UNITED STATES- JUNE 28 Rep. Chris Collins R-N.Y. attends a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup in Rayburn Building

Former MP Chris Collins is to be sentenced to almost five years in prison for insider trading, the prosecutor said on Monday to a US district judge.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick of the Southern District of NY, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said that as a member of Congress, Collins was "better situated than nearly anyone else to understand the societal importance of following the law and of not impeding the work of law enforcement through lies", but "flouted both of these responsibilities".

Prosecutors accuse the 69-year-old of lying under the oath and acting like "those in power who make the laws are not required to follow them".

The recommendation comes as Collins, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements in October, is set to be sentenced on Friday.

"Collins admitted to, among other things, illegally tipping his son while standing on the White House lawn", U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said after his plea was entered, according to the news outlet.

Prosecutors said that Collins learned in an email from Innate's chief executive that a clinical trial for its proposed multiple sclerosis drug, MIS416, had failed.

After campaigning with a promise that he would be fully exonerated, and refusing public appearances and interview requests throughout much of the 27th District, the multimillionaire pled guilty in Federal Court in September. Cameron alone sold more than one million shares of Innate before the company released the failed drug trial results to the public.

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Collins, 69, opted to continue serving in Congress while lying about his case to federal investigators, prosecutors said in a letter to a federal judge for the Southern District of NY.

The three avoided losing $768,000 in the move.

Collins pleaded guilty this fall to providing his son Cameron with an inside stock tip in 2017 and later lying about it when questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"It is critically important that the sentence imposed on Congressman Collins drive home the message that status does not constitute a basis for leniency", prosecutors wrote.

When questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at his home in April 2018, prosecutors said Collins chose to "lie to them in order to divert law enforcement from the trail of evidence showing that he and Cameron had committed insider trading", the filing said.

"The cynicism of Collins's conduct - his decision to repeatedly violate federal law while continuing to accept the trust of the public to draft it - is exacerbated by its total gratuitousness". Collins was not able to trade his own shares because they were tied up with a transfer agent. Collins could have ameliorated any concern he had that Cameron would lose money in Innate by simply gifting Cameron money.

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