State Senator Carlos Uresti, whose district includes parts of West Texas, will appear in federal court today for a jury trial on charges of money laundering and fraud. Uresti pled not guilty last year to his involvement with a fracking sand company, via Texas Public Radio.
If convicted, Uresti could face up to 20 years in prison for each of the 11 counts. Uresti represents State Senate District 19 which includes parts of San Antonio and Bexar County.
The charges stem from the company Four Winds. The government said Uresti conspired with former Four Winds CEO Stan Bates and consultant Gary Cain to develop an investment Ponzi scheme to market hydraulic fracturing sand for oil production. At least one victim claims to have lost $900,000 after being encouraged by Uresti and Bates to invest in Four Winds before the company when bankrupt.
Bates pleaded guilty to fraud earlier this month.
Tab Turner, an attorney for Uresti, wrote in a text message to Texas Public Radio: “The senator is glad he finally has the opportunity to get this behind him, and he’s looking forward to presenting the truth about these misleading allegations.”
Uresti’s downtown San Antonio law office was raided by the FBI in February of 2016. Three months later he was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He appeared in federal court in handcuffs the next day.