Former California congressman arrested on fraud charges

 

On Tuesday, federal authorities detained a former congressman from central California on various fraud-related counts, including wire fraud, money laundering, and fraudulent campaign contributions.

According to booking records, FBI agents in Fresno arrested and transported Terrance “T.J.” Cox to the Fresno County jail on a U.S. Marshal’s hold. No one can quickly confirm whether or whether he is represented by an attorney. A Tuesday email to Cox went unanswered.

From 2019 to 2021, Democratic Party member Cox represented the 21st Congressional District. Included in the district are Kings County and parts of Fresno, Kern, and Tulare counties in California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley.

 

 

U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert announced in a statement that Cox, 59, had been charged with 15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, 1 count of financial institution fraud, and 1 count of campaign contribution fraud.

According to Talbert, Cox misappropriated $1.7 million from clients’ payments and business loans between 2013 and 2018 by putting it in secret “off-the-book bank accounts.”

According to the lawsuit, Cox owned or controlled many businesses and non-profits, including one that assisted other businesses in applying for loans and federal tax credits, another that processed almonds, and yet another that administered Fresno’s Granite Park for recreational purposes.

Talbert claims that Cox got a $1.5 million construction loan to create Granite Park using deceptive means.

Cox claimed that one of the companies he co-owned would guarantee the loan after his nonprofit was denied a construction loan for the recreation facility without a guaranteeing party. He then submitted a forged board resolution that falsely stated that all company owners had agreed to guarantee the Granite Park loan during a meeting.

There was “no meeting,” and “the other proprietors did not agree to back the loan,” Talbert stated.

As a result of the loan going into default, he said, the company lost about $1.28 million.

 

Prosecutors claim that throughout his 2017 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives, Cox illegally compensated friends, family, and associates who had made contributions to his campaign. Talbert claims that Cox funneled more than $25,000 in illicit straw or conduit donations into his campaign.

Cox faces up to 30 years in jail and a $1 million fine for wire fraud impacting a financial institution, and up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud against an individual. Five years in prison and a $250,000 fine is the maximum punishment for campaign contribution fraud.