T.J. Cox (D-CA), a former congressman, was indicted on Tuesday for fraud, campaign contribution fraud, and other federal charges.
Cox was accused of fraudulently claiming that he had purchased a property in California as his primary residence. Cox was accused of claiming that his Maryland “principal residence” was not in California and that he didn’t actually reside there. The indictment does not address Cox’s claim that he was a Californian in that race.
All counts related to Cox’s conduct prior to and during the 2018 election in which Cox narrowly beat incumbent Rep. David Valadao, (R-CA). Valadao appeared to be winning Election Night and was even called the winner of the AP. However, he lost when all mail-in ballots were counted including those collected through legal “ballot harvesting.”
Experts believe that ballot harvesting was used for the first-time in the 2018 race and may have helped flip the race from Valadao towards Cox.
Joe Biden, then-Vice President, also supported Cox.
Cox later faced allegations that he failed to disclose certain of his businesses to U.S. House of Representatives.
The Department of Justice released the following press release:
Terrance John “TJ”, 59, from Fresno is charged with 15 charges of wire fraud and 11 counts of money laundering. He also faces one count each of financial institution fraud and campaign contribution fraud.
The indictment alleges that Cox committed multiple fraud schemes against vendors, clients, and companies with which he was associated. Cox opened unauthorized bank accounts off-the-books and diverted money from clients and companies through false representations. Cox illegally obtained more than $1.7 million in client payments, company loans, and investments through two fraud schemes between 2013 and 2018.
Cox also allegedly received mortgage loans from a lender to purchase property. He submitted multiple false representations, including false bank statements and statements that Cox intended for the property to be his primary residence. The indictment claims that Cox purchased the property to rent to another person.
The indictment alleges that Cox fraudulently obtained a $1.5million construction loan to help develop Granite Park, a recreation area in Fresno. Cox and his business partner could not qualify for the loan because there was no financially sound party to guarantee it.
Valadao was elected to the seat from Cox in 2020.