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Former constituents react as Collins pleads guilty to insider trading charges

Kaci Jones
Updated: October 02, 2019 05:13 AM
Created: October 01, 2019 11:17 PM

GENESEO, N.Y. (WHEC) — Former Congressman Chris Collins has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI. Each of the two charges carry a penalty up to five years in federal prison.

Now, the people Collins once represented are left without leadership. New York's 27th Congressional District covers all of Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Livingston counties and parts of Erie, Monroe, Niagara, and Ontario counties. 

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Collins admits he told his son a Biotech company where they both owned stock would soon tank because of a failed clinical trial. 

Will Dorfner of Geneseo says he is satisfied with the outcome of the case so far.

"Corruption is never good and it needs to be rooted out," Dorfner said. "He did the wrong thing when he did it but it did the right thing by stepping down."

Prosecutors say Collins telling his son saved them $700,000. Norman Warner of Geneseo says he understands why Collins would bend the rules for his loved ones.

"If you have some kind of inside information that would help your family, I don't think you should go to prison for it," Warner said. "Maybe a slap on the wrist."

Collins faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison, but because he took a plea deal, he could only get a four-year sentence.

Michael Fanbro of Geneseo says Collins abused his power and should see prison time as punishment.

"It seems like a lot of politicians get a slap on the wrist," Fanbro said. "It seems nice to have someone held accountable for their crimes in an appropriate way."

Federal prosecutors say as a Congressman Collins helped write laws that he failed to follow. He has apologized for his actions.

"I think when you have that kind of level of power committing crimes like that you kind of deserve to be in jail," Dorfner said. "I think 10 years is a fair punishment."

Collins is scheduled to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Jan. 17, 2020 for sentencing.

News10NBC is still working to learn if and when Gov. Cuomo will call a special election to fill Collins' seat.


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