(Bloomberg) -- Former New York Republican congressman Christopher Collins should serve almost five years in federal prison after admitting to funneling confidential stock tips to his son, prosecutors said.
Collins, 69, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to federal investigators as part of a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to seek a punishment within federal sentencing guidelines that called for him to serve 46 to 57 months.
Collins last week asked U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick in Manhattan to spare him from prison and order him to serve probation when he is sentenced on Friday, citing his advanced age, charitable work and repentance. On Monday, prosecutors urged the judge to impose a sentence at the “top end” of the range to promote respect for the law, punish Collins appropriately and deter others who might engage in similar behavior.
“Collins was better situated than almost anyone else to understand the societal importance of following the law and of not actively impeding the work of law enforcement through lies,” prosecutors said in a memo. “Yet he flouted both of these responsibilities. In committing insider trading and later lying to federal agents to cover it up, and in continuing to actively serve in the House of Representatives during that time period, Collins came to embody the cynical idea that those in power who make the laws are not required to follow them.”
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Collins, who was first elected to Congress in 2012, was the first congressman to endorse Donald Trump for president. He admitted to tipping off his son Cameron to the negative results of the clinical trial for a a multiple sclerosis drug being developed by Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotechology company on whose board he served. He resigned from Congress in September, shortly before pleading guilty.
Prosecutors said by tipping his son to the results of the drug tests, Cameron, his fiancee, her parents and a friend were able to sell more than 1.78 million Innate shares, avoiding losses of about $768,000. Cameron pleaded guilty just days after his father and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 23.
The case is U.S. v. Collins, 18-cr-567, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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