Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) has turned himself in to authorities after a San Antonio grand jury has returned two separate indictments against him, KVUE's sister station in San Antonio reports.
A hearing is expected to follow later Wednesday afternoon.
The charges between the two documents, titled 'FourWinds indictment' and 'Reeves indictment,' range from wire fraud to bribery to money laundering, and could land Uresti, 53, with a maximum combined sentence of more than 180 years, according to the Department of Justice.
An excerpt from the "FourWinds indictment" reads:
"This indictment charges Uresti, age 53, of San Antonio, Four Winds Chief Executive Officer Stanley P. Bates, age 45, of San Antonio, and Four Winds consultant Gary L. Cain, age 60, of San Antonio, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment also charges Uresti with five substantive counts of wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud; one count of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity; and, one count of being an unregistered securities broker. The indictment also charges Bates with one count of wire fraud; two counts of securities fraud; and, three counts of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity. The indictment also charges Cain with seven counts of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity."
The first indictment alleges Uresti, Bates and Cain created an investment Ponzi scheme to market frac sand, used in the hydraulic fracturing process commonly known as "fracking." Part of the scheme involved the trio soliciting investors, beginning in 2013, by making false statements, and then using money from later investors for personal expenses and to pay earlier investors, according to indictment paperwork.
The indictment alleges Sen. Uresti convinced a woman he represented to invest in FourWinds after she received a lofty settlement in the “legal action.” In March 2013, Sen. Uresti obtained $25,000 from the victim, about five months after she received her proceeds, totaling nearly $900,000. A little more than a year later, Uresti and Bates convinced the victim to invest the 'significant remainder' of those proceeds in FourWinds, according to the paperwork.
The indictment alleges Uresti, Bates, and Cane were able to obtain investments by fraud and deceit from four different victims, while not investing any money of their own.
For each fraud-related charge, Uresti, Bates, and Cane face up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction. For each money laundering charge, the trio faces up to 10 years, and Uresti faces up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction of being an unregistered securities broker.
The "Reeves County Indictment" reads in part:
"This indictment charges Uresti and 44–year-old Vernon C. Farthing, III, of Lubbock, TX, with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering."
A second indictment alleges that over the course of 10 years, Uresti and Farthing conspired to accept bribes to secure a "Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract" for Farthing's company, specializing in providing medical services to inmates. Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo reportedly signed the contract, agreeing to pay Farthing's company a fee per inmate, per day.
The indictment further alleges that Farthing paid Uresti $10,000 per month to act as a "marketing consultant," and that Uresti split that sum with Galindo and others for securing the contract.
If convicted of the charges contained in the Reeves County indictment, Uresti and Farthing face up to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bribery and up to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The FBI's Public Corruption Task Force is conducting this investigation.
Uresti issued a statement to Jim Malewitz of the Texas Tribune in response to the indictment:
"I am hard at work representing District 19 in the 85th Legislative Session. The charges against me are groundless and I look forward to proving my innocence in a court of law at the appropriate time. I will enter a plea of Not Guilty and immediately return to work representing District 19."
TAP HERE to read the FourWinds Indictment.
TAP HERE to read the Reeves County Indictment.