FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2019 file photo, U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., speaks to reporters as he leaves the courthouse after a pretrial hearing in his insider-trading case, in New York. Collins is resigning from his seat ahead of an expected guilty plea in an insider trading case in which he was accused of leaking confidential information during an urgent phone call made from a White House picnic. Collins submitted a resignation letter Monday, Sept. 30, 2019 according to a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It will take effect when Congress meets in a brief session on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Ex-Rep. Collins due in court for guilty plea in stock case

October 01, 2019 - 6:55 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Chris Collins is expected to plead guilty in an insider trading case Tuesday, a day after saying he was quitting Congress.

The Republican from western New York is accused of leaking confidential information about a biopharmaceutical company, allowing his son and another man to avoid nearly $800,000 in stock losses.

A federal judge in Manhattan scheduled a 3 p.m. hearing for Collins to enter a guilty plea to unspecified charges. A similar hearing has been scheduled on Thursday for the ex-congressman's son, Cameron Collins.

Collins was among the first members of Congress to support President Donald Trump's run for the White House. He had been scheduled to go to trial next year on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI.

The U.S. House made Collins' resignation official Tuesday morning. With his departure from Congress, it will be up to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to set a special election to fill the seat in the Republican-leading district.

The charges stem from Collins' business ties with Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd., a biotechnology company headquartered in Sydney, Australia. He was the company's largest shareholder and sat on its board.

According to the indictment, Collins was attending the Congressional Picnic at the White House in 2017 when he received an email from the company's chief executive saying that a drug developed to treat multiple sclerosis had proven to be a clinical failure.

The next morning, according to the indictment, Cameron Collins began selling his shares, unloading enough over a two-day period to avoid $570,900 in losses before a public announcement of the drug trial results. After the announcement, the company's stock price plunged 92%.

Cameron Collins is accused of passing along the information to his fiancée's father, so he could also dump his stock.