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Former U.S. Rep. TJ Cox (D-CA) has been indicted on 28 felony counts of fraud, according to an indictment that was unsealed Tuesday in federal court.
Cox was 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 in the Eastern District of California, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Prosecutors say that Cox targeted companies he was affiliated with, along with those company’s clients and vendors, by setting up secret bank accounts that he diverted their money into “through false representations, pretenses and promises.”
Over the course of several years starting in 2013, Cox illegally obtained more than $1.7 million through those schemes, prosecutors say.
Prosecutors say that Cox was also involved in defrauding a mortgage lender through false statements and “fabricated bank statements.”
Cox is also accused of obtaining a $1.5 million loan, which was allegedly to develop a recreation area at a public park, through fraudulent means. Cox and his business partner’s non-profit could not qualify for the loan without having a strong financial backer so Cox allegedly fabricated documents to falsely claim that one of the businesses that he was affiliated with had held a meeting to vote on backing the loan and that the company’s owners all agreed to it. Prosecutors say that no meeting ever happened. The loan later defaulted and caused a nearly $1.3 million loss.
The statement from the Justice Department also says that during his campaign for U.S. Congress in 2018, Cox created a scheme to “to fund and reimburse family members and associates for donations to his campaign.”
In convicted, Cox faces up to 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.
This report has been updated to include additional information.