‘I'm making it': Judge agrees to ease financial restrictions on disgraced ex-Sen. Carlos Uresti

Former Texas senator owes victims of Ponzi scheme $6.3 million

By Tim Gerber - Reporter/Anchor, Nicole Perez - Executive Producer, Van Darden - Managing Editor

SAN ANTONIO - A federal judge on Tuesday agreed to allow former state Sen. Carlos Uresti to officially retire from the Texas Senate, releasing pension benefits previously frozen by a judgement against him.

But how much money he’s entitled to will likely be a mere fraction of the total evaluation.

The victims of the Ponzi scheme of which he’s been accused of orchestrating are owed $6.3 million in restitution. Uresti was convicted in February on nearly a dozen federal charges after he defrauded investors into giving money to a sand fracking company.

While he’s entitled to that pension, the judge refused to allow Uresti and his current wife access to any pension benefits.

Another beneficiary will be Uresti’s first wife, Yolanda, with whom he has an existing divorce decree. She will be entitled to those disbursements.

The judge also declined to allow divorce proceedings to go forward between Uresti and his estranged second wife and urged the government and his defense attorneys to continue to seek some sort of settlement regarding their shared property and assets. 

After Uresti was convicted, Lleanna Margaret filed for divorce. Federal prosecutors received a restraining order to keep Uresti from selling assets -- something they described as "a common asset protection device."

The judge did agree to allow Uresti access to his bank accounts to receive deposits and write checks. 

In July, Uresti told the judge he could no longer afford to pay for attorney Michael McCrum, who represented him at trial, and didn’t “have money to survive.” 

An attorney representing Uresti filed a motion claiming Uresti "literally has no liquid funds to pay for normal necessary monthly living expenses, such (as) electricity, food, gasoline and insurance," the document said.

At the hearing Tuesday, Uresti said he’s living with family, borrowing money from friends and working for one of the attorneys who is defending him.

When leaving the courthouse just before noon Tuesday, Uresti said he’s “making it.”

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