Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament

Dance of the thieves.

+ I have no idea if Paul Manafort will be convicted in his tax evasion trial in Alexandria, Virginia. But the financial crimes (tax evasion, bank fraud, embezzlement, money laundering) confessed to by the man Trump didn’t fire, Rick Gates, are fairly eye-popping…until you compare them to the $120 million Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is accused of grifting.

+ Now we have the case of Rep. Chris Collins, the Martha Stewart of the House, who used inside information on a failed trial for a multiple sclerosis drug to tip his son about the potential collapse in the stock price for Innate Immunotherapeutics, a pharmaceutical company on whose board the congressman sat. Collins’ son dumped his stock days before the news became public and the share value plunged by 92%, saving himself more than $768,000. Then, like Stewart, Rep. Collins lied to FBI agents during his interview about the pump-and-dump scheme.

+ Collins was one of the first politicians to endorse Trump and served as a key member of his transition team. They had much in common. Both were brash New Yorkers with millions in the bank and an antipathy toward any federal regulators scrutinizing their financial transactions. In fact, Collins, whose net worth is upwards of $65 million, is one of the wealthiest members of Congress.

+ It doesn’t get much sweeter than this. The indictment alleges that Collins, acted on his inside trading tip while at the White House picnic for members of Congress!

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