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Former WNY Congressman scheduled to report to prison Tuesday



A former member of the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to report to prison Tuesday.

Chris Collins, 70, pleaded to federal charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI in September 2019. He was charged, along with his son Cameron and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron’s fiancee, of using non-public information from an Australian biotech firm called Innate to save hundreds of thousands of dollars ahead of the announcement of a failed clinical trial for a drug that treated multiple sclerosis.

Collins was serving as a board member at the time. Stockholders saved approximately $800,000, prosecutors allege, due to insider trading.

The Buffalo-area lawmaker maintained his innocence before resigning his seat in the House of Representatives in September 2019. Collins represented New York’s 27th District, which encompasses Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Livingston Counties, as well as parts of Erie, Monroe, Niagara, and Ontario Counties.

In January, Collins was sentenced to serve 26 months in federal prison. Attorneys have successfully argued for a judge to push back the date on which he was set to report to prison from March to April – and then again to June and eventually October.

Republican Chris Jacobs was chosen in a special election to serve the remainder of Collins’ term. He is running against Democratic challenger Nate McMurray in the general election to begin his first full term in office.

“I hope Chris Collins eventually feels remorse for what he did, for robbing his investors and also robbing the people of this region of representation,” McMurray said in a virtual news conference Tuesday. “But more importantly, I hope the people of this region realize that we can do better. We don’t need to listen to the party machine. We need to vote for our own interests, not the interests of these men. I’m asking the people of NY-27, the people of western New York, to turn the page and demand more on Nov. 3.”