On Tuesday, the Justice Department reported that former California Democratic Rep. TJ Cox was indicted on 15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, one count of financial institution fraud, and one count of campaign contribution fraud.
From 2019 to 2021, Terrance John Cox was a representative for California’s 21st Congressional District. One of the charges accuses Cox of a fraud scheme involving his congressional race. Prosecutors alleged that Cox ran a $25,000 illegal straw or conduit donations scheme in 2017. Family members and associates who donated to his campaign were allegedly reimbursed.
If the former congressman is found guilty of campaign contribution fraud, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Prosecutors accused Cox of running multiple fraud schemes from 2013 to 2018. The indictment alleged that he created unauthorized off-the-books bank accounts. Cox targeted companies he was affiliated with and diverted client payments, company loans, and investments into those unauthorized accounts through false representations, pretenses, and promises. The five-year scheme collected $1.7 million in diverted funds.
The indictment also accused Cox of applying for a mortgage under false pretenses. Cox reported to the lender that he planned to purchase a property as his primary residence. However, prosecutors alleged that the former representative never planned on living in the home but had always intended to rent out the property.
If Cox is found guilty of wire fraud and money laundering, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Additionally, Cox is accused of fraudulently obtaining a $1.5 million construction loan for the development of Granite Park in Fresno, California. In order to be approved for the loan, Cox stated that one of his affiliated companies would back up the loan. Cox said that he held a meeting with the company’s board, during which the owners agreed to guarantee the loan.
The indictment claimed that no meeting with the company board members took place, and the owners were never made aware of the agreement. The loan went into default and generated a loss of more than $1.28 million. If Cox is found guilty of wire fraud affecting a financial institution and financial institution fraud, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The Justice Department reported that the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation unit are looking into the case.