DOJ recommends sentence for former Rep. Chris Collins at 'top end' of guidelines

Prosecutors said Monday that former Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsFormer Rep. Chris Collins sentenced to 2 years in prison for insider trading GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Democrats running to replace Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins vow to support ethics package MORE (R-N.Y.) should receive a sentence "at the top end" of federal guidelines after his conviction for insider trading.

Collins, who resigned last year from Congress, pleaded guilty in September to conspiring to commit securities fraud, with the Department of Justice at the time agreeing to a sentence between 46 and 57 months in prison.

"The Government believes that a sentence at the top end of the Guidelines range is necessary," Justice Department officials said in a sentencing document filed Monday. Authorities said Collins obstructed law enforcement's efforts and pointed to his "cynicism" in arguing for a longer sentence.

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"Collins' obstruction of the investigation of his family's illegal trading is, by itself, a powerful reason to impose a sentence that carries a substantial period of incarceration," prosecutors wrote.

"The cynicism of Collins' conduct — his decision to repeatedly violate federal law while continuing to accept the trust of the public to draft it — is exacerbated by its total gratuitousness," they continued.

Collins's congressional seat is expected to be filled by special election in April. He previously won reelection with a thin margin of victory while at the time denying wrongdoing in the insider trading case.