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Former California Rep. TJ Cox faces over two dozen federal fraud charges

Then-California Rep. TJ Cox speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 17, 2019.
Andrew Harnik
Then-California Rep. TJ Cox speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 17, 2019.

Former California Rep. TJ Cox is facing dozens of federal charges related to allegations the Democrat participated in multiple fraud schemes, including one involving his run for Congress.

The Justice Department released details Tuesday of the 15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, one count of financial institution fraud, and one count of campaign contribution fraud against Cox.

He served in the U.S. House for a single term, from 2019-2021. During the 2018 race, he narrowly defeated Republican David Valadao during a major push by Democrats to take over GOP-led districts in California. Cox lost the rematch against Valadao.

According to federal prosecutors, Cox's alleged schemes spanned years, at least from 2013-2018, and involved multiple frauds. Cox allegedly targeted companies, both for-profit and nonprofit entities, he was already affiliated with, according to the unsealed indictment.

In two different fraud schemes, Cox illicitly netted more than $1.7 million from diverted client payments as well as company loans and investments that he solicited and later stole, according to prosecutors.

His fraud schemes even allegedly involved his own run for Congress. Prosecutors say when Cox was a candidate for the U.S. House in 2018, he ran a $25,000 illegal straw donor scheme. He funded and reimbursed family members and his associates for donations to his campaign

If convicted and if he receives the maximum penalty, Cox faces decades in prison.

No information on a possible attorney for Cox was included in court documents.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jaclyn Diaz is a reporter on Newshub.