Former Rep. TJ Cox Arrested by the FBI

California Democrat faces dozens of fraud charges
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2022 8:14 PM CDT
Former Rep. TJ Cox Faces Dozens of Fraud Charges
In this Jan. 5, 2018 photo, TJ. Cox, then-candidate for the 21st US Congressional District, speaks at a Democratic Party debate at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto.   (Andy Alfaro/Modesto Bee via AP, File)

(Newser) – Former Rep. TJ Cox served one term in the House, from Jan. 2019 to Jan. 2021. The California Democrat will be serving a lot more time than that in federal prison if he's convicted of all of the fraud charges he's facing. The FBI says Cox was arrested in Fresno on Tuesday morning, Politico reports. The Justice Department said 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." Cox, who founded two businesses that process nuts, could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Cox, 59, unseated Republican Rep. David Valadao in California's 21st congressional district in the 2018 election but narrowly lost to Valadao in 2020. According to the indictment, he was involved in numerous shady schemes over a decade, some of them involving campaign contributions, CNN reports. He allegedly obtained "over $1.7 million in diverted client payments and company loans and investments" which he placed in a secret account and used for personal—and political—expenses. According to the indictment, he distributed more than $25,000 to friends and relatives, instructing them to donate the funds to his campaign.

"The purpose of emphasizing individual donations was to keep pace with competitors that received high numbers of private donations and to show viability of the candidacy through individual donations," the indictment states. Cox is also accused of lying on an application to obtain a $1.5 million construction loan and submitting fake bank statements to get a mortgage loan. (Read more California stories.)

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