Key witness in Sen. Uresti federal fraud trial faces armed robbery charge

Denise Cantu, 38, arrested in Harlingen Tuesday

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter

HARLINGEN, Texas - A key witness in the federal fraud trial of state Sen. Carlos Uresti has been arrested in connection with the assault of a woman and robbery of her cellphone.

Denise Cantu, 38, was arrested Tuesday in Harlingen. 

Cantu faces felony charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault, according to a press release from the Harlingen Police Department.

Related: Sen. Carlos Uresti indicted for wire fraud, other crimes

Cantu's alleged accomplice is accused of threatening a man and a woman with a handgun after she and Cantu assaulted the woman in the 3500 block of West Business 83 around 2:40 p.m. Monday, the release said.

Cantu and the accused accomplice, listed by police as 26-year-old Monica Escobedo, fled the scene in a pickup truck.

The release said Cantu and Escobedo were arrested Tuesday morning at Cantu's home.

Related: Prosecuctors: Uresti's financial problems show he 'had motive to defraud'

Cantu, a former legal client of Uresti, invested $900,000 in 2014 in Four Winds Logistics after she received a hefty settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit, according to federal prosecutors.

Uresti received a commission on that investment, federal documents said.

A majority of the investment, around $800,000, was lost, according to federal documents.

Four Winds, which marketed hydraulic fracking sand for oil production, has been described by prosecutors as a Ponzi scheme.

Related: Federal judge tells Uresti he needs new attorney

Uresti, who remains in office, denies wrongdoing in the fraud case.

He is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 4.

 

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