How unusual was Collins' investment in Innate?

Aug 10, 2018

A local financial adviser is weighing in on the insider trading charges that Congressman Chris Collins is facing.

Rep. Chris Collins
Credit File photo: Chris Caya WBFO News

"I believe I acted properly and within the law at all times with regard to my affiliation with Innate."

Collins delivered that message to supporters in downtown Buffalo, Wednesday night, after pleading not guilty to insider trading, wire fraud, lying to the FBI, and other charges, earlier in the day, in federal court in Manhattan. Anthony Ogorek, of Ogorek Wealth Management, in Williamsville, says he would never advise any politician - especially at the federal level - to have individual securities.
    
"There is no need to for you to be owning individual securities because you put yourself in a position such as this where potential conflicts come up," Ogorek said.  
 
The allegations against Collins include tipping off his son, Cameron Collins, and others, who saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by dumping their shares. Ogorek says the feds don't indict people over minor securities law violations.    

"These tend to be major league types of infractures that the authorities like to deal with, in a rather severe fashion, just to protect the integrity of the markets," Ogorek said.  

But what makes the case especially unusual, he says, is most people won't deal in penny stocks.
    
"Which are stocks that are worth a dollar or two dollars a share. It's a very thinly traded market. It's subject to pump and dump types of schemes and so for someone who is in his position, also someone who had a significant net worth typically would not be dealing in penny stocks," Ogorek said.     

Collins is vowing to fight to clear his name and run for reelection. Meanwhile, he remains under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics for "his holdings in, and promotion of, Innate.