Updated: January 17, 2020 09:59 PM
Created: January 17, 2020 03:02 PM
NEW YORK (WHEC) — A federal court judge has sentenced former Congressman Chris Collins to 26 months in prison for insider trading and lying to the FBI.
He must also pay a $200,000 fine and spend one year on probation.
He won't start serving his term until March. No explanation was given as to why.
U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick sentenced the 69-year-old Republican in a Manhattan courtroom Friday evening.
In court, Collins sobbed as he spoke in court, saying, "My life and my reputation have been completely shattered. But worse, my family has been shattered."
Collins' lawyers and prosecutors had disagreed over his punishment for his role in an insider trading scheme.
Prosecutors said he should spend 46 to 57 months in federal prison. His lawyers, however, said he should face no prison time, citing his age and the low chance he would commit more crimes.
Collins and his son, Cameron, were worth $35 million when they tried to save less than a million dollars by selling shares in an Australian biotech company before the news became public, prosecutors said. They also faulted Collins for campaigning for re-election in New York's 27th Congressional District after his arrest and continuing to serve while touting his innocence.
"The charges levied against me are meritless," Collins said in August 2018 when he was running for re-election. "And I will mount a vigorous defense in court to clear my name. I look forward to being fully vindicated and exonerated."
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman made the following statement on Twitter:
Cameron Collins has also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing next week. Chris Collins asked the judge to be merciful to his son.
Nate McMurray, a Democrat running to fill the NY-27 seat Collins once occupied, released the following statement:
“Years of lies by Collins and those who justified his crimes ends like this. Tears. An empty seat. It’s a sad moment. No sentence can heal the damage caused. The sting will linger.
Remember this. Who brought us here. So when we look back, we will see how far we’ve come. I'm heading to my son's basketball game, watching a movie with my family, going to sleep, and waking up tomorrow to continue the fight to restore integrity to NY-27 and Washington.”
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