Former Democratic representative T.J. Cox, of California, was charged Tuesday with fraud.
The one-term lawmaker, 59, was arrested on 28 different counts, including money laundering and campaign finance fraud, Politico reported.
Between 2013 and 2018, Cox managed to steal $1.7 million from companies he was tied to and their clients by steering client payments, investments and loans to secret, off-the-books bank accounts.
Cox’s tangled web of schemes involved a company that steered investment capital to businesses in poor communities, an almond processing company, and a non-profit that operated a park in Fresno.
In one scheme, he would make out phony loans from the community development company to the almond processing company that he actually pocketed.
Cox also defrauded a lender to develop a park in Fresno that was operated by his non-profit. The $1.5 million loan defaulted.
“Cox falsely represented that one of his affiliated companies would guarantee the loan, and submitted a fabricated board resolution which falsely stated that at a meeting on a given date all company owners agreed to guarantee the Granite Park loan. No meeting took place, and the other owners did not agree to back the loan. The loan later went into default causing a loss of more than $1.28 million,” the indictment read.
Serial fraudster caught
Cox is also accused of fraudulently obtaining a mortgage loan for a home that he said would be a primary residence, but which he actually bought to rent out.
When he was running for Congress, Cox also fraudulently funded and reimbursed family members and associates who donated to his campaign with $25,000 in illegal straw donations.
He faces 15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, one count of financial institution fraud, and one count of campaign contribution fraud.
If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud and money laundering, 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for wire fraud affecting a financial institution and financial institution fraud, and five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for campaign contribution fraud.
Cox was elected in 2018 and served a single term before losing re-election in 2020 to Republican David Valadao, who Cox had narrowly defeated two years before.