FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The federal indictment charging former Central Valley Congressman TJ Cox with fraud and money laundering shines a new light on some of his previous financial issues.
TJ Cox's legal issues started years before a judge unsealed the criminal indictment against him this week.
His political opponent, David Valadao, pointed to some of them during their campaigns in 2018 and 2020 and told us his warnings were validated Tuesday.
"We all knew all along that TJ was a shady person and it's just been proven today," the Hanford Republican told Action News.
In 2019, three people sued Cox, accusing him of defrauding them out of $150,000 in investments into a mining equipment business and a Canadian gold mine.
They said Cox stopped paying them back a couple years into their agreement and never gave them the partial ownership he promised.
"Those allegations, if true, could be used in the criminal case to show a modus operandi, a way he operates in terms of dealing with other people, in terms of moving money around and not paying people money he owes them," said legal analyst Tony Capozzi.
A similar story came out of a City of Fresno audit of Granite Park operations in 2019.
The park is operated by a sports non-profit run by Cox and Terance Frazier.
The audit found dozens of bookkeeping errors, plus bank transactions they couldn't explain including a big deposit from another of Cox's businesses.
Cox now faces 28 felony charges for wire fraud, money laundering, mortgage fraud, and campaign contribution fraud.
Federal prosecutors accuse him alone of lying to get a loan for construction at the park.
But Capozzi says the messy audit could provide a defense for Cox.
"He could say 'I was just overwhelmed. I didn't keep track of all these things. I didn't know what was really going on. I did sign checks. I did transfer money. But I always thought things would be covered'," Capozzi said.
Cox is representing himself in the mining company lawsuit, but he didn't return messages Wednesday.
When he walked out of jail Tuesday, he blamed his troubles on politics.
"Politics is a tough game," he said. "I wouldn't be in this position today but for the politics and I think we all know that."
"In some respects that could be true," Capozzi said. "Because he was in the public spotlight, all of this came out. Or, if he wasn't in the public spotlight, would this be a civil lawsuit like the one filed right now concerning the mining company."
Cox is due in federal court in October.
He's also scheduled for trial next year in the mining case at the civil courthouse just a block up the street.