Former Democratic California congressman TJ Cox indicted for money laundering and fraud

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Terrance John “TJ” Cox, who represented California’s 21st congressional district as a Democrat from 2019 to 2021, was indicted on 28 counts of money laundering, wire fraud, campaign fraud, and other charges on Tuesday. 

Cox, 59, was arrested by FBI agents around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning and booked into the Fresno County Jail, according to sheriff’s records. 

Prosecutors detailed in the 25-page indictment how Cox allegedly stole $1.7 million from clients and companies he was associated with from 2013 to 2018. 

FILE PHOTO: TJ Cox speaks during a rally for California Democratic House candidates competing for GOP-held seats at the Titan Student Union on the campus of California State University, Fullerton in Fullerton on Thursday, October 4, 2018.

FILE PHOTO: TJ Cox speaks during a rally for California Democratic House candidates competing for GOP-held seats at the Titan Student Union on the campus of California State University, Fullerton in Fullerton on Thursday, October 4, 2018. (Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

In one instance, Cox allegedly solicited a $100,000 loan for one of his companies in April 2017, but failed to pay the principal back to the two investors. 

“More than $40,000 of [the loan] was used for Cox’s personal expenses, including private school tuition, credit card payments, mortgage payments and a $7,000 payment to Cox’s private political consultant,” prosecutors wrote. 

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When Cox was a candidate for US Congress in the 2018 election, he allegedly arranged for more than $25,000 in illegal straw donations by funding or reimbursing family members and associates after they gave money to his campaign. 

FILE PHOTO: Rep. TJ Cox, D-Calif., appears during a U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2020. 

FILE PHOTO: Rep. TJ Cox, D-Calif., appears during a U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2020.  (Bill Clark/Pool via REUTERS)

Cox is also accused of providing fabricated bank statements on a mortgage application and fraudulently obtaining a $1.5 million construction loan to build a recreation area in Fresno. That loan went into default, resulting in a loss of more than $1.2 million, according to prosecutors. 

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Cox could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday. 

The 59-year-old flipped California’s 21st congressional district in 2018, but lost to Republican Rep. David Valadao by 862 votes in 2020. 

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