Disgraced former State Senator Carlos Uresti sentenced to 12 years
3 years supervised release, must pay $6.3 million restitution
SAN ANTONIO – Disgraced former State Senator Carlos Uresti was sentenced to 12 years in prison and three years supervised release Tuesday after an hours-long sentencing.
Federal judge David Ezra ruled that Uresti could remain free on bond until the conclusion of his federal bribery charge out of Reeves County. That trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 28, but could change.
Uresti was convicted on eleven fraud and money laundering charges in February.
Uresti's attorney Michael McCrum posed 24 objections to a pre-sentencing report that would help establish the guidelines for Ezra to sentence off of, however Ezra only sustained a handful of the objections, mostly relating to the restitution amount.
Uresti was ordered to repay $6,345,441 restitution to his victims along with a $1,100 special assessment -- $100 for each of his 11 charges.
Uresti fought back tears as he addressed the court on Tuesday, saying several times that there was no one to blame but himself for the situation.
“I’ll lose my office my home and all of my possessions, but most importantly, I’m losing my family and that’s something I cannot replace," Uresti told the court.
Prior to delivering his sentence, Ezra likened Uresti's trajectory to his own.
"I am faced with having to sentence a man who, in may ways, whose life parallels my own. We both came from working parents -- somewhat humble beginnings. We both worked our way through school. We both graduated from law school -- the same law school. We both served as military officers. And we both knew a man named Frank Tejeda. He sadly died too young."
Uresti and Gary Cain were convicted of running a Ponzi scheme through a company called FourWinds Logistics, a business that sold fracking sand.
Investors said they gave the business thousands of dollars after they were promised big returns, but the company never delivered.
Uresti, Cain and a third man, Stanley Bates, profited off the victims.
"One of the saddest parts — the most debilitating parts — Mr. Uresti used his status as a State Senator of this great state to be purloined by Mr. Bates," Ezra said. "To package this as a legitimate investment when it should’ve been clear to him — and it was clear to him — that it was a fraud.”
Prosecutors asked a judge to sentence Uresti to at least 17.5 years behind bars, but Uresti asked that his military and community service be considered in his sentencing. Ezra decided on 12 years, but Uresti said he will appeal the sentence.
Since his February conviction, Uresti's wife filed for divorce. He also surrendered his license to practice law. Just last week, Uresti resigned his seat in the Texas Senate -- a position he has held since 2006. Uresti's twin brother, Lorenzo Uresti, said that's punishment.
Eight people including Uresti's brother, Tomas Uresti, are running in a special election to fill the disgraced senator's seat.
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