NEW YORK (WIVB) — When Judge Vernon Broderick sentences Chris Collins on January 17th, he will likely have reviewed several pages of documents prepared to help him come to a decision.
Collins pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI charges in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday. The charges are connected to an insider trading case federal authorities investigated. Each of the two charges Collins, the former congressman representing New York’s 27th district, pleaded guilty to carry maximum sentences of five years in prison.
“I regret my actions,” Collins told Broderick as he pleaded guilty. “Something I will live with the rest of my life.
“As a member of Congress, I tried to be a model citizen for (my constituents). My actions were anything but.”
Collins’ resignation from Congress became official Tuesday morning.
He will now be the subject of a pre-sentencing investigation conducted by federal probation officers.
“It is an investigation conducted by an experienced probation officer who will look into his entire background,” explained attorney and legal expert Terry Connors, who is not affiliated with the Collins case.
Connors explained the probation officer will look closely at the offenses Collins pleaded guilty to and the plea agreement itself. As part of the pre-sentencing investigation, Collins could be interviewed by the probation officer. Collins could also decline to be interviewed, however.
“During the course of that interview, experienced probation officers have the ability to recognize true remorse,” Collins said. “Sometimes, it’s borne out of emotion. Sometimes, they check with other people. They check with family members and close friends to see if he’s truly remorseful.”
Collins’ attorney is expected gather letters of support for the former congressman to pass along to the judge, in hopes it might lead to a more lenient sentence, Connors explained.
While the maximum penalty for Collins is five years in prison on each charge, federal sentencing guidelines call for him to serve between 46 and 57 months in prison. Broderick, the judge, can take those guidelines into consideration. He can also, however, issue a sentence outside that range. If that were to happen, the sentence could be appealed.
“Very tough appeal though,” Connors commented. “Very difficult.”
On Thursday, Collins’ son Cameron and Cameron’s future father-in-law Stephen Zarsky, both also facing charges in the case, are scheduled to change their not guilty pleas. In court Tuesday, Chris Collins admitted that he passed insider info about a drug trial to Cameron. Federal prosecutors have claimed that allowed Cameron to save more than $570,000.
It is alleged that Cameron Collins then passed that information to Zarsky, who also dumped stock. That saved him more than $143,000, prosecutors say.