U.S. probation office recommends Chris Collins serve a year and a day in prison

Jan 9, 2020

Former Congressman Chris Collins will be sentenced for insider trading Jan. 17.
Credit WBFO file photo

Chris Collins won’t be sentenced for insider trading until next week, but his potential sentence may already have been revealed.


The U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System has recommended the former Congressman serve a year and a day in prison, as well as pay a $200,000 fine.

The recommendation was disclosed by Collins’ lawyers in a 58-page sentencing memo filed late Tuesday. 


Judges often follow the federal probation office’s sentencing recommendations, according to former Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bruce.


“The judge will be subjected to arguments by the government, subjected to arguments by the defense, and they may sway him to one degree or another,” Bruce told WBFO Wednesday, “but often you’ll find judges who (follow) the probation department’s recommendation in a case, and I think the likelihood of former Congressman Collins receiving a year and a day are pretty high.”


A year and a day in prison would be significantly lower than the roughly four years Collins and prosecutors agreed to as part of his plea deal. Their agreed-upon sentencing guidelines was 46 to 57 months.


Collins’ attorneys wrote that while they agree with the federal probation office that Collins should serve less than the sentencing guidelines, they feel he should serve no prison time at all. They argue he should be given probation and placed under home confinement.


“Chris has already paid, and will continue to pay, a very serious price for his crimes,” they wrote in the memo to U.S. District Court Judge Vernon Broderick. “As a result of his felony prosecution, plea, and harsh collateral consequences, nobody can look at the impact on Chris’ life and conclude he escaped with minimal consequences.”


Collins’ attorney, Jonathan New of BakerHostetler law firm, did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.


Bruce said although they’re pushing for house arrest, Collins’ attorneys are likely pleased with the probation office’s recommendation of one year.


“If Chris Collins were my client, I’d be elated to see that,” he said, adding Collins would likely serve just 10 months with good behavior.


Collins, who represented New York’s 27th Congressional District for six years, pleaded guilty to insider trading charges and resigned from Congress in October. He admitted to calling his son with an inside stock tip while on the White House lawn in June 2017. 


Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17.