Former Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York received his sentencing in court on Friday for his role in an insider trading scheme that involved his son and extended family. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison and hit with a $200,000 fine.
Before the verdict, a distraught Collins reportedly wept and asked the judge for mercy.
From colleague Jeremy Copas. Fmr GOP NY Rep Chris Collins, crying during sentencing today: My life has been shattered. My reputation has been shattered. My family had been shattered..I’m am asking you to be merciful to me, but more importantly, to be merciful to my son.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 17, 2020
He added that as a former Boy Scout and Eagle Scout leader, he had "violated" his own care values and beliefs.
"I cannot face my constituents," Collins said. "People feel sorry for me. They shouldn't. I did what I did."
U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick agreed and told Collins he “had a duty and you betrayed that duty.” But, he tempered the sentencing with a note of encouragement for the defendant, telling Collins to "make some good come out of this bad situation.”
While serving in Congress, Rep. Collins was on the board of Australian biotechnology company called Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd. The company was testing a new product that was expected to be very successful. But, on the day of the 2017 White House Congressional Picnic, Collins learned the trial had been a failure. Panicking, he reportedly called his son Cameron, who also had stock in the company, to warn him about the failed test. Cameron sold his shares and shared the information with others, together avoiding losing a reported $750,000. You can read more about that career-ending and family upending phone call here.
Rep. Collins later lied to the FBI during questioning. Despite initially dismissing the insider trading charges as "meritless," Collins eventually pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He resigned last September.