A 28-count indictment was unsealed Tuesday in the Eastern District of California, charging former California Democratic U.S. House of Representative TJ Cox with multiple fraud schemes and campaign contribution fraud.
Cox, 59, of Fresno, is charged with 15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, one count of financial institution fraud, and one count of campaign contribution fraud.
According to allegations in the indictment, Cox perpetrated multiple fraud schemes targeting companies he was affiliated with and their clients and vendors. Cox created unauthorized off-the-books bank accounts and diverted client and company money into those accounts through false representations, pretenses and promises. From 2013 to 2018, across two different fraud schemes, Cox illicitly obtained over $1.7 million in diverted client payments and company loans and investments he solicited and then stole.
In addition, Cox allegedly received mortgage loan funds from a lender for a property purchase by submitting multiple false representations to the lender, including fabricated bank statements and false statements that Cox intended to live in the property as his primary residence. However, the indictment alleges Cox intended to and did buy the property to rent it to someone else.
According to allegations in the indictment, when Cox was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 election, he perpetrated a scheme to fund and reimburse family members and associates for donations to his campaign.
Cox was elected as a Democrat in California’s 21st Congressional District — a district in the San Joaquin Valley that includes parts of Bakersfield — in 2018 and lost re-election in 2020.
He could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud and money laundering if he is convicted. In addition, he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for wire fraud and five years and a $250,000 fine for campaign contribution fraud.