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Former Congressmember Cox Close to Plea Deal in Money Laundering Case
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 16, 2024

Former Central Valley Congressmember TJ Cox is close to accepting a plea agreement for 28 federal counts. (GV Wire File)

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Former Congressmember TJ Cox plans to change his not guilty plea, federal court documents show.

Cox, a Fresno Democrat, faces 28 counts of fraud, money laundering, and illegal campaign contributions. He represented the Central Valley in Congress from 2019 to 2021, defeating incumbent David Valadao, R-Kings County, before losing a rematch.

A federal judge delayed a May 22 hearing, with a plea deal is likely.

“The parties request a change of plea hearing on July 29, 2024 to allow the parties to finalize plea terms and file change of plea documents,” a joint request from federal prosecutors and Cox’s attorney Mark Coleman made to the court.

The request also stated Coleman “is recovering from a recent illness and medical procedure and requires additional time to consult with his client.”

Details of the plea deal were not released. A U.S. Attorney spokesperson said the plea deal is not official until the judge accepts. The office had no other comment.

Cox had no comment.

Eighth Continuance of Cox Case

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara McAuliffe granted the motion. In her March 20 order, she said she would “not grant further continuances, absent good cause.” 

Federal authorities arrested Cox in August 2022. He is accused, among other things, of diverting money from his businesses into “off-the-books” bank accounts. Cox is accused of stealing money from clients of his business consulting business. He is also accused of falsifying documents to receive business loans and illegal campaign contributions.

It is not believed Cox has appeared in person at a court hearing. He appeared by video conference at his Aug. 16, 2022, arraignment, pleading not guilty. Since then, his case has been on the docket 10 times, with eight continuances.

Cox posted bail after his 2022 arrest.

At least one of the charges relates to a $1.4 million loan Cox helped secure for Fresno’s troubled Granite Park sports complex. The nonprofit that runs Granite Park has since defaulted on the loan. Cox served as an officer on the nonprofit’s board at the time the loan was made.

Cox faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud and money laundering charges; 30 years for financial institution and financial institution fraud; and five years for campaign fraud. He would also face up to $1.5 million in penalties.

Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration federal sentencing guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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