Ex-Congressman of CA-21 Charged with Money Laundering, Fraud

TJ Cox with Joe Biden

TJ Cox, famous for being endorsed by Barack Obama twice for Congress, was arrested by the FBI and is currently locked up in Fresno County.

California congressman arrested

A 28-count indictment was unsealed today in the Eastern District of California charging the former member of Congress with 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, former Rep. TJ Cox faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for wire fraud and money laundering.

Terrance John Cox (born July 18, 1963) served as the U.S. representative for California’s 21st congressional district from 2019 to 2021. He was endorsed of Barack Obama. The son of Chinese American and Filipino American parents, Cox was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018. A member of the Democratic Party, he was defeated in his 2020 rematch with Republican David Valadao.

Cox, 59, has four children with his wife, the pediatrician Kathleen Murphy. His father is a chemical engineering professor who immigrated from China, and his mother is from the Philippines.

California’s 21st congressional district (or CA-21) is located in the San Joaquin Valley and includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Kern, and Tulare counties.

According to allegations in the indictment, Cox perpetrated multiple fraud schemes targeting companies he was affiliated with and their clients and vendors. Cox created unauthorized off-the-books bank accounts and diverted client and company money into those accounts through false representations, pretenses and promises. From 2013 to 2018, across two different fraud schemes, Cox illicitly obtained over $1.7 million in diverted client payments and company loans and investments he solicited and then stole.

In addition, Cox allegedly received mortgage loan funds from a lender for a property purchase by submitting multiple false representations to the lender, including fabricated bank statements and false statements that Cox intended to live in the property as his primary residence. However, the indictment alleges Cox intended to and did buy the property to rent it to someone else.

According to allegations in the indictment, Cox also fraudulently obtained a $1.5 million construction loan to develop the recreation area in Fresno known as Granite Park. Cox and his business partner’s nonprofit could not qualify for the construction loan without a financially viable party guaranteeing the loan. 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.

According to allegations in the indictment, when Cox was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 election, he perpetrated a scheme to fund and reimburse family members and associates for donations to his campaign. Cox arranged for over $25,000 in illegal straw or conduit donations to his campaign in 2017.

U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert of the Eastern District of California made the announcement.

The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Jeffrey A. Spivak are prosecuting the case.