Attorney John Elmore said nothing legally was keeping him in New York. Elmore said the process to gain Florida residency is actually fairly easy, particularly for someone like Collins who already owns property in the state.
"Register to vote. Register your cars. Register your driver's license... get a driver's license and then let the tax authority know that you plan on making Florida your permanent domicile, so it's a very simple procedure," he said.
In his email, Collins said he plans to be in Florida for a while as the press settles down and moves on. Elmore believes there's likely another reason as well.
"The real savings for Chris Collins is the tax savings because New York state is one of the highest taxed states in the country and Florida is one of the least taxed states in the country,” he said.
Florida has something called the Homestead Act which protects someone's home from being seized to pay a debt. Elmore, however, doesn't believe that's a factor, as the congressman reportedly still has a significant amount of personal wealth and should be able to pay even substantial fines.
Regardless, he said someone moving to avoid tax losses while they potentially serve prison time is pretty unusual.
"I wouldn't say that it's common because it's very uncommon for someone as wealthy as Chris Collins to get charged and convicted of a crime involving theft," he said.
Collins was actually soliciting character references in hopes of a more lenient sentence. But Elmore believes it could have a negative effect, because of one specific line in the email.
The former congressman wrote that pleading guilty was the right decision for his son Cameron and the family.
"If a judge becomes aware of those public statements, he could be giving Chris Collins a longer sentence because that could be a sign that he's really not accepting responsibility for his actions," Elmore said.
The sentencing is scheduled for January 2020 with Collins likely facing up to 57 months. Elmore said he wouldn't rule out a presidential pardon but believes that's the only way he'll avoid prison time.