NEW YORK CITY (WIVB) — Chris Collins was on Friday sentenced to 26 months for his conviction on conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI.
The former congressman for New York’s 27th District was also handed down one year of supervised release and a $200,000 fine.
Collins last year pleaded guilty to insider trading, as did his son Cameron Collins and his son’s father-in-law, Stephen Zarsky, who were both tipped off. That allowed them to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, as alleged by prosecutors in the indictment Collins pleaded guilty to.
Federal prosecutors recommended that Collins serve between 46 and 57 months in prison. Collins’ attorneys sought probation. Probation officers recommended he spend a year and a day in prison.
“It’s a big swing,” said Cheryl Meyers Buth, a legal analyst and attorney at Meyers Buth Law Group. “I find in my practice it’s the most stressful time for a defense client because you won’t know until you’re standing in front of a judge what he’s going to do.
“You won’t know – are you going to federal prison are you going to a halfway house? Are you going to be on probation and what the conditions of probation are going to be?”
Judge Vernon Broderick received some 200 letters from members of the public – supporters, longtime critics, family members and former constituents in NY-27.
Collins represented the district in Washington until the day he resigned. NY-27 reaches from the outskirts of Buffalo to outside of Rochester, and contains some or all of eight Western New York counties. The district has remained without a U.S. House representative since.
First elected to Congress in 2012, Collins had little difficulty being re-elected in 2014 and 2016 as his district was long considered one of the most solidly Republican in New York, but the beginning of the end of his political career came on the White House lawn two and a half years ago.
June 22, 2017
Rep. Chris Collins attends the congressional picnic at the White House. The indictment against him states he made phone calls to his son about the stock in question while at the picnic.
Collins can be seen talking on his phone in this video.
Sept. 30, 2019
Chris Collins hands in his letter of resignation in NY-27. The letter was sent to Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The announcement came in advance of a change of plea hearing for both Collins’ and Zarsky, rescheduled for the following day.
Oct. 1, 2019
Hours prior his guilty plea, Collins’ resignation letter was read aloud on the floor of the House, making his stepping down official.
A federal official said Collins’ guilty plea did not require him to step down, and that he did so voluntarily.
Oct. 3, 2019
Both Cameron Collins and Stephen Zarsky plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.