MANHATTAN (CN) – His political future is far from certain, but the son of ex-Congressman Chris Collins followed in his father’s footsteps Thursday by pleading guilty to securities fraud.
“I knew what I was doing was wrong and illegal,” Cameron Collins, a 26-year-old graduate of Villanova University, told a federal judge this afternoon.
The plea came two days after the elder Collins, a Republican from western New York, admitted that he advised his son to sell his shares of Innate Immunotheraputics, an Australian biotechnology company on whose board he sat for a decade.
Chris Collins had been at the White House Picnic when he made the tell-tale call, having just learned from Innate’s CEO about the failed clinical trial of a multiple sclerosis drug the company was developing.
Cameron Collins made a call of his own then to his fiancée’s father, Stephen Zarsky, who entered his own plea today.
Zarsky had invested his retirement savings in Innate and sold all of his shares to avoid $143,000 in losses.
“My moment of weakness will haunt me for the balance of my days,” an emotional Zarsky strained to say, his face reddening as his voice faltered.
According to the indictment, Cameron Collins saved himself from more than $570,000 losses after he sold 1.39 million shares of Innate.
His father resigned from office in connection to his plea, despite having first attacked press accounts of his arrest as “fake news.” First elected in 2013, Collins was the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president.
Both Collins men maintained stony silence as they left the courtroom, refusing to answer whether they repudiated that comment now that both have admitted the allegations.
Along with Zarsky, the younger Collins pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy. They will be sentenced in late January 2020. Per the terms of their pleas, they cannot appeal sentences below 46 months.