Sen. Uresti knew 'oil field players,' witness testifies

Democratic lawmaker used his position to lure investors

SAN ANTONIO – Texas Sen. Carlos Uresti told at least one potential investor in an oil field fracking and sand company in which the lawmaker had an interest in that he knew people in the oil field industry, an attorney testified Thursday.

"He said that he had contacts," attorney Alphonso Cabanas, a government witness, told jurors in Uresti's federal fraud trial. "He said that he knew oil field players in his district."

Cabanas said that Uresti wanted him to convince a Mexican businessman to invest in Four Winds Logistics, which is now a defunct company.

"He said this is a legitimate investment," Cabanas said Uresti told him.

But the financial adviser for Denise Cantu, a woman who lost $900,000 investing in Four Winds, said that she urged Cantu not to make the investment because "it sounded too good to be true."

Cantu was represented by Uresti in a civil case in which she was awarded a substantial settlement.

Uresti later convinced her to invest in Four Winds, an operation that the government said was a Ponzi scheme.

Cantu is expected to testify as a key government witness. 

The veteran Democratic lawmaker from San Antonio and co-defendant Gary Cain are facing a combined 20 federal charges related to their roles in the operation of Four Winds.

"He's innocent," Uresti's attorney Mike McCrum said Thursday. "He didn't know that anything illegal was going on and was duped like everyone else."

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