A Republican representative from New York who was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president has been arrested on charges of insider trading.
Rep. Chris Collins, 68, surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning after he was indicted on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI, NBC News reports. His son, Cameron Collins, and the father of his son’s fiancée, Stephen Zarsky, were also arrested on the same charges.
The federal government’s indictment alleges that Collins passed non-public information about Innate Immunotherapeutics — an Australian pharmaceutical company in which he is the largest shareholder — to his son, who in turn shared the information with Zarsky. According to the indictment, Cameron Collins and Zarsky traded on the information, which allowed them to avoid nearly $800,000 in losses.
Collins’ attorneys released a statement Wednesday morning saying, “We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in Court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name. It is notable that even the government does not allege that Congressman Collins traded a single share of Innate Therapeutics stock. We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated.”
Collins has had close ties to Innate since 2005 and allegedly encouraged many of his Republican colleagues to buy stock in the company, according to Vox.
Earlier this year, reporters overheard Collins near the House floor boasting on the phone about how he had made his friends, colleagues and donors millionaires by recommending they invest in Innate, according to The Washington Post.
Collins, who served as the congressional liaison to the Trump transition team, has since been one of the president’s most vocal supporters in the House.