Texas senator convicted of 11 federal felony charges
Feb. 22, 2018
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A state senator from San Antonio faces a potentially long prison term after his conviction Thursday on 11 federal counts of money laundering and wire and securities fraud.
Sen. Carlos Uresti was charged in May in connection with his roles at a now-defunct oilfield company. The jury deliberated over two days before reaching its verdict. Several of the charges could lead to prison sentences of up to 20 years. Sentencing is scheduled for June 25.
Uresti was found guilty along with a co-defendant, Gary Cain, who was an executive with FourWinds Logistics. The pair lied to investors in order to make money for the company, prosecutors said.
Their trial lasted about four weeks.
Uresti was not up for re-election until 2020. The Democrat said after the verdict he plans to appeal the conviction.
Federal prosecutors have said FourWinds operated an illegal Ponzi scheme against its investors. Uresti was the company's general counsel. He also owned a small stake of company shares and earned commissions for recruiting investors.
FourWinds was a fracking sand company that went bankrupt in 2015.
Uresti's attorney had argued the lawmaker had no knowledge the company's head was squandering money on expenses unrelated to the company's business.
The former chief executive of FourWinds, Stan Bates, pleaded guilty in January to federal securities fraud and other charges. He's scheduled to be sentenced in April and faces decades in prison.
Uresti had testified in bankruptcy court in September that he and his legal team investigated FourWinds in the wake of his indictment to learn the reason for his indictment, the San Antonio Express-News reported. He testified that only then did he learn that "it appears that it might have been a Ponzi scheme."
Such a scheme is an investment fraud that pays existing investors from the contributions of new investors and telling them they were returns on their investments.