SAN ANTONIO - State Sen. Carlos Uresti was in federal court in shackles and handcuffs Wednesday for an initial appearance following his indictment on fraud and money laundering charges.
Uresti and two others, Gary Cain and Stanley Bates, are accused of operating a Ponzi scheme through a business they owned called Four Winds Company. They allegedly bought oil field fracking sand with money from investors.
“I am innocent of those charges,” Uresti said following the hearing.
During the hearing, the men’s charges were explained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad. He outlined conditions for their release that include no travel outside the U.S., surrendering their passports and weapons and no alcohol.
All were released on unsecured $50,000 bonds. They will be back in federal court on May 31 for formal arraignment.
Following the hearing Uresti said, “I look forward to my day in court when all the facts come out.”
The senator is also named in a separate two-count indictment alleging bribery and money laundering charges that stem from his role in securing a medical services contract.
News of the charges against Uresti was hard to accept at a leather shop in Castroville owned and operated by military veterans. As a former Marine, Uresti has been an outspoken advocate for them and other veterans.
“It’s surprising. I’ve never heard anything bad about him,” said Dave White, the shop’s owner.
Dean Black who takes pride in the leather goods he produces, said, “Personally, it was a loss. I hope he’s found not guilty.”
“It’s shocking,” said Jeanette Reyes about the indictments, as she had lunch at a nearby cafe.
“Hopefully, the truth will come out, whatever it is," White said.
Uresti reiterated his innocence in a statement to KSAT, which reads: “I want to reach out to all of the Texans I represent and assure them that I am innocent of all charges, and I look forward to my day in court when all the facts will come out, and I will be found not guilty of all charges by a jury of my peers."
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