A former Democratic congressman from California whose businesses received federal loans amid the COVID-19 pandemic was arrested Tuesday in a series of scams — including one that helped fund his winning candidate.
Terrance John “TJ” Cox, 59, of Fresno, was charged with a 28-count indictment alleging that he siphoned and fraudulently stole more than $1.7 million from an almond processing company he co-owns Having received a $1.5 development loan from the Sacramento U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Cox is also accused of prompting friends and family members to make more than $25,000 in crooked donations towards his 2018 campaign.
Cox reportedly provided the money upfront or reimbursed the “straw” donors afterwards.
Cox narrowly defeated GOP Rep. David Valadao in the 2018 general election, defeating the incumbent by just 862 votes, or less than 1% of all votes cast.
But Valadao regained the seat in 2020 after a race that saw Cox come under fire for seeking special entry into Yosemite National Park to celebrate the Fourth of July despite COVID-19 restrictions.
Cox’s campaign also reportedly admitted using Photoshop software to make it appear that Valadao had retweeted a message from then-President Donald Trump that read, “California is going to hell. Vote for Trump!”
The Post reported in July 2020 that Cox was one of several Democratic congressmen with ties to companies who received millions of dollars in paycheck protection program pandemic-related loans.
The almond processing company received up to $350,000, as did an elderly care provider in which Cox had a financial interest of up to $1 million.
These loans are not included in the indictment published on Tuesday.
After his defeat, Cox formed a political action committee for a possible rematch, but instead backed Democrat Rudy Salas in November.
The Cook Political Report rates the race between Salas and Valadao – one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the January 6 attack on the US Capitol – as a toss.
Cox’s alleged fraud with the almond-processing company involved diverting at least $750,000 in customer payments, company loans and alleged investments into a secret account, according to prosecutors.
The former lawmaker is also accused of obtaining a loan to redevelop Fresno’s Granite Park sports complex by forging a document saying one of his companies would vouch for it, though his partners never approved of the deal.
The loan later defaulted, causing the lender to lose nearly $1.3 million, according to prosecutors.
According to online records, Cox was committed to Fresno Prison after his arrest by the FBI.
Information about his defense attorney and first court appearance was not immediately available.
https://nypost.com/2022/08/16/ex-dem-rep-tj-cox-busted-in-fraud-schemes-worth-over-3m/ Ex-Dem Rep. TJ Cox has been busted in over $3 million in scam schemes