Former Oregon Congressman Wes Cooley was indicted Thursday on money-laundering charges connected to an investment scheme that reportedly bilked more than $10 million from victims, federal prosecutors said.

Former Oregon Congressman Wes Cooley was indicted Thursday on money-laundering charges connected to an investment scheme that reportedly bilked more than $10 million from victims, federal prosecutors said.

Cooley, 76, allegedly defrauded investors by telling them the successful online auction company eBay.com was on the verge of purchasing their startup company called Bidbay.com., according to a federal indictment handed down by a U.S. Attorney based in Los Angeles.

Cooley was convicted in 2005 on similar charges stemming from a St. Louis civil case in which he and a business associate were ordered to pay more than $2.1 million to several victims of the online auction scheme, according to The Associated Press.

Cooley, who represented the 2nd Congressional District that includes Jackson and Josephine counties, made headlines in Oregon in the mid-1990s after it was discovered he lied about serving in the Korean War. In 1996, he was convicted of lying in the Oregon Voter's Pamphlet and sentenced to two years' probation.

The latest indictment alleges Cooley worked with George Tannous and De Elroy Beeler Jr. to solicit hundreds of victims across the country to purchase unregistered stock in Bidbay.com in the hopes it's value would sharply increase after being bought by eBay.com.

EBay never intended to buy the company. In fact, the online auction giant sued Bidbay.com for copyright infringement for using "bay" in its title.

Cooley was charged Thursday with six counts of concealment of money laundering and one count of filing a false tax return. He faces a maximum 38 years in federal prison if convicted.

Cooley is scheduled to appear in federal court in Los Angeles next month.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.