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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 am 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.
In one instance, Cox allegedly requested 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.
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.