WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury in California indicted Terrance John Cox, a former Democratic representative of Fresno, for an array of financial crimes, including a bid to divert campaign contributions during his election campaign in 2018.
Mr. Cox, 59, known as T.J., is charged with 28 counts, including wire fraud, money laundering and making a campaign contribution under the name of another person, according to a criminal complaint that a federal judge unsealed on Tuesday.
Mr. Cox diverted $25,000 in illegal “straw” contributions to his 2018 campaign to secretly “fund and reimburse family members and associates for donations to his campaign,” prosecutors for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of California said.
The F.B.I. arrested Mr. Cox on Tuesday morning. He was set to be arraigned later in the day.
Attempts to contact Mr. Cox and his attorney were not immediately successful.
The charges, many of which stem from Mr. Cox’s tenure as the head of a community development firm, also cover various complex financial transactions from 2013 to 2019. If he is convicted, he would face millions in potential fines and a prison sentence of 20 to 30 years.
During that period, prosecutors said, Mr. Cox obtained more than $1.7 million in client payments, company loans and investments that “he solicited and then stole.”
In 2018, Mr. Cox narrowly unseated David Valadao, the Republican incumbent, in a competitive swing district. But Mr. Valadao defeated him two years later, in an election in which it was later revealed that campaign contributions to Mr. Cox were diverted to one of Mr. Cox’s real estate ventures.
In recent months, the Justice Department has pursued a handful of cases against Democratic officials.
They include a bribery case against a former lieutenant governor of New York, Brian Benjamin; wire fraud charges against a former candidate for Florida governor, Andrew Gillum; and a racketeering case against Michael Madigan, the former speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.