Cameron Collins, the son of former Congressman Chris Collins, was sentenced for his involvement in an insider trading case. The sentence handed down by a federal judge in Manhattan did not include any jail time. Cameron Collins was sentenced to five years probation. The sentence includes six months of home confinement, five hundred hours of community service, and a fine of $150,000.
In October 2018, Cameron Collins plead guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He could have faced a maximum sentence of forty-six months in prison.
Cameron Collins’ sentencing came nearly a week after his father, former Congressman Chris Collins, was also sentenced in this insider trading case involving Innate Immunotherapeutics. Chris Collins was sentenced to 26 months in prison.
WGRZ 2 On Your Side reported live as the sentence was handed down to Cameron Collins. Attorney Barry Covert was in studio to provide immediate legal analysis of the sentencing. Continue reading this post for Barry Covert’s comments and click on the videos below to watch the full reports, which include the interviews with Barry Covert.
Reaction to Sentencing
Attorney Barry Covert spoke to reporter Michael Wooten in WGRZ’s studio just after the news of Cameron Collins’ sentence broke. Mr. Covert provided the following initial reaction to the sentencing: “It was surprising low. We knew that the judge was leaning towards being very good to the son, because the questions that the judge posed yesterday were very favorable to the son.
Talking about his father. Talking about; where’d the money really come from? Where did you have your resources? Weren’t you really doing this at the behest of your father? Those were favorable questions.
Remember last week, the questions the judge asked two days before Chris Collins’ sentencing were very negative. We all thought wow, he’s really going to get walloped at the time of sentencing. So, we all expected a lower sentence, four months, six months. But to give probation is really to take into account that this is the son, he was 24 years old.
And the judge made all these comments at the beginning of finally imposing the sentence after going through all the stages to finally get there. And he said, well these are serious offenses and it really is harsh here that you also then lied to the FBI months and months later, and you have to be a serious person, and you harmed the other stock holders. But then he came back to the fact that he’s 24 years old and why did your father call you. And he said that; why did your father call you? Why did he put you essentially in that position? And he really took that into account and decided that he was really going to give this young man a break. Still a convicted felon, five years’ probation is not easy, but he avoided incarceration.”
Events Set In Motion By Phone Call
Reporter Michael Wooten stated that at the end of the day, none of this would have happened had Cameron Collins’ father not made that phone call and not told his 24 year old son to lie to the FBI. Barry Covert followed by saying: “And coordinated with his son. So, there were phone calls that evening and there were phone calls over the next few days between the son and the father. Presumably, that’s where Chris Collins is telling his 24 year old son how to slowly sell off the stock without decreasing the value, so you get full value of the stock. How to coordinate that. And then he coordinated with his son, again 24 year old son, later in the months on how to lie to the FBI. Not take the fifth, not hire a lawyer, but how as a 24 year old sitting with six FBI agents, how to lie to them.”
Chris Collins’ Role In Leniency of Son’s Sentence
Barry Covert was asked how much Chris Collins’ pleas for his son at his own sentencing played a role in today’s sentencing of Cameron Collins? Mr. Covert stated: “I think it was a huge factor for both Chris and for his son. So, by Chris Collins saying save your mercy for my son, that’s what a judge wants to hear. He took full responsibility and a lot of us think that he really saved himself at sentencing and we think that he got a lower sentence because of that. But then by saying that to the judge and the son now coming forward today taking full responsibility, he didn’t make any excuses. He did talk about the fact that his father called him and his father is really his hero and an eagle scout and a congressman. But, he never said my excuse is my father made me do it, he never said that. And so, a huge factor for Chris, the father, to say be lenient to my son. That was good for Chris and good for his son.”
Reasonable and Just Sentence
Michael Wooten concluded his questions for Barry Covert by asking if a reasonable and just sentence was handed down in this case. Mr. Covert replied: “I think both sentences were very reasonable and very just. And that’s why the judge took all the time he did both with Chris Collins and with Cameron. To explain all the steps he went through. And he told us last week, I’m doing this because I received a lot of letters from his constituents, for and against, and I want to explain to everyone how I got there. For Chris Collins you may want to argue that he should be held to a higher standard. He’s older, he was on the Innate board, and he was a congressman at the time. So it’s fair for the public to say he should be held to a higher standard. His son though was none of those things. He was only 24 years old at the time and he should not be held to the standard that his father is held to and punished because he is the son of his father. That would be inherently unfair. I think the judge really got to a good place here, walked through all the factors he had to, explained to the public how he got here, and treated a 24 year old like he would treat pretty much treat any 24 year old. He said yesterday in questions that he sent to the government and to the defense, show me where another 20 year old was treated harshly under these circumstances. Show me where other 24 year olds were charged criminally as opposed to just a civil disposition.”
No Jail Time a Surprise
In a subsequent report on WGRZ, anchor Maryalice Demler introduced Barry Covert’s legal analysis as stating Cameron Collins sentence was a surprise. In that report, Barry Covert stated: “We were signaled by the judge yesterday by the questions that he filed for both sides to answer that it was going to be a favorable sentence. They were softball questions. Questions that really showed that the judge understood that Chris Collins, the father, was really kind of in charge of his son’s finances and what he did here and how this all went down. And the questions that the judge asked two days before sentencing last week of Chris Collins were very severe and you could really tell that this was going to be a harsh sentence on Chris Collins. So we all expected a favorable sentence, but I don’t know that anyone expected zero jail time at all”