Collins could be banned from investing in stocks, like Innate, forever

SEC wants Collins banned from serving on boards

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The United States Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to have Congressman Chris Collins banned from ever serving as an officer of a publicly traded company.  This is part of a separate, civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan.

The government is also trying to stop Collins from trading penny stocks, ever again.  A penny stock is a stock trading for less than $5, that is not listed on a national exchange, like the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq.

Innate Immunotherapeutics shares are at the center of a criminal complaint filed in the United States District Court, by the SEC.  Congressman Collins is accused of insider trading.  Shares of the stock were trading for $0.45 before a 90% plummet, based on negative drug trial results.

Cameron Collins, his son, is also wrapped up in the legal troubles, accused of selling large amounts of stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics, Ltd. before relevant information about a clinical trial was made public. Chris Collins is accused of giving his son the information.

Meantime, the SEC is submitting more evidence to the court in this civil suit.  The government contends Collins told his son about the clinical trial's failure, "[anticipating] that Cameron Collins would trade.   At the time that he shared the information with Cameron Collins, Christopher Collins knew that Cameron Collins owned approximately 2% or approximately 5.2 million of Innate's outstanding shares."

The government says the Congressman purchased much of the 5.2 million shares for his son.

"Christoper Collins received a personal benefit from his tip of material, nonpublic information to his son Cameron Collins, including the benefit of providing a gift of information to a close relative.  Christopher Collins also knew or recklessly disregarded that Cameron Collins would trade on his tip," says the SEC.

In the weeks before results were released, the SEC says Collins took steps to ensure his son's shared would be "readily tradeable."

This matter was filed in court, Wednesday, but was assigned to a magistrate judge today.

No word on when arguments in this civil case will be heard.

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