Politicians sometimes get a bad rap for back door dealings and other assorted malfeasance. However, sometimes the headlines are dominated by names that offer evidence of the clichés. Such is the case of Texas state senator Carlos Uresti, who is facing a very long prison term after being convicted on eleven counts of federal money laundering, wire fraud and securities fraud.
The case was based on events connected to Uresti’s interest in a now-closed oil field company. These charges are serious, and several of them could carry individual sentences of up to 20 years. Uresti will learn his fate when he is sentenced this summer.
In the meantime, the Texas senate is reeling with these events. Uresti says he will appeal the conviction, but no one is giving that appeal too much credence. And, likely, regardless of how the verdict goes, Uresti is probably done in politics. The details of the case are not exactly the kinds of things that inspire trust and confidence in voters. According to prosecutors, Uresti and his co-defendants set up a company called FourWinds Logistics that was, they said, operated as a Ponzi scheme against investors.
While Uresti had a stake in the company, he also drew commissions for recruiting investors. Prosecutors said investors were taken advantage of and not treated fairly or legally. The company went bankrupt back in 2015.
Fighting It Out in Court:
In court, Uresti’s attorneys argued he didn’t know what was happening with the company, and he had no knowledge of any investment capital being spent on expenses unrelated to company business. That line didn’t hold up for prosecutors, who already had a guilty plea from former FourWinds CEO, Stan Bates, who agreed to charges of securities fraud, as well as some other charges. Bates also faces decades in prison.
Uresti’s own testimony helped close the book on the case after he agreed that the finances of FourWinds “appear to (may have been) a Ponzi scheme.” Prosecutors said that testimony made it pretty clear Uresti had at least some idea what was going on in the company, and he continued to serve an integral role in FourWinds.
So, where does this go from here? Right now, political planners on both sides are trying to figure out what they will do to fill Uresti’s seat in the senate, and Uresti’s supporters are figuring out how to distance themselves from the troubled politician. There’s a lot still to come in this story.