A 28-count indictment was unsealed today in the Eastern District of California charging a former congressman with multiple fraud and campaign contribution fraud schemes.
Terrance John “TJ” Cox, 59, of Fresno, is charged with 15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, one count of financial institutions fraud and one count of contribution fraud elections.
According to the indictment allegations, Cox perpetrated multiple fraud schemes targeting companies he was affiliated with and their customers and suppliers. Cox created unauthorized bank accounts on the books and diverted customer and company money to these accounts through false representations, pretenses and promises. From 2013 to 2018, in two different fraud schemes, Cox illegally obtained more than $1.7 million in misappropriated client payments and corporate loans and investments that he solicited and then stole.
Additionally, Cox allegedly received mortgage funds from a lender for the purchase of a property by submitting several false statements to the lender, including fabricated bank statements and misrepresentations that Cox intended to live. in the property as a main residence. However, the indictment alleges that Cox intended to purchase and purchased the property to lease it to someone else.
Cox also fraudulently obtained a $1.5 million construction loan to develop the Fresno recreation area known as Granite Park, the indictment alleged. Cox and his business partner’s nonprofit could not qualify for the construction loan without a financially viable party guaranteeing the loan. Cox falsely stated that one of his affiliated companies would guarantee the loan and submitted a fabricated board resolution that falsely stated that at a meeting on a given date, all of the company’s owners had agreed to guarantee the loan from Granite Park. No meeting took place and the other owners did not agree to guarantee the loan. The loan subsequently defaulted, resulting in a loss of over $1.28 million.
The indictment alleges that when Cox was a candidate for the United States House of Representatives in the 2018 election, he perpetrated a scheme to fund and reimburse his family members and associates for donations to his campaign. Cox organized more than $25,000 in illegal straw or pipe donations for his campaign in 2017.
If convicted, Cox faces a maximum legal sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud and money laundering. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for wire fraud affecting a financial institution and fraud against a financial institution. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for campaign contribution fraud. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after considering all applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which consider a number of variables. Accusations are only allegations; the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty and unless proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
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.
An indictment is only an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.