In San Antonio this afternoon, a federal judge sentenced former District 19 Texas State Senator Carlos I. Uresti to five years in federal prison for bribery, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs.
Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra ordered that the five-year prison term run concurrent to the 12-year federal prison sentence he handed down to Uresti in the Fourwinds case on June 26, 2018. Judge Ezra also ordered that Uresti pay restitution in the amount of $876,000 and that he be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term. Judge Ezra also ordered that Uresti surrender to federal authorities next Tuesday to begin serving his prison term.
“This sentence makes clear that we will not tolerate corruption by elected officials. It is one of my top priorities to root out corruption in Texas government,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.
On October 12, 2018, Uresti pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. By pleading guilty, Uresti admitted that from January 2006 to September 2016, he conspired with others to facilitate the payment of bribes to former Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo in exchange for Judge Galindo’s official actions concerning a Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract. Uresti further admitted to collecting $10,000 a month as a marketing consultant. Approximately half of that sum was then given to Judge Galindo as a facilitation of the bribe and for his support to award the contract to a specific company at a more favorable price to that company.
In June 2017, Galindo pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy charge. Galindo, who faces up to five years in federal prison, is scheduled for sentencing at 9:00am on February 26, 2019.
“Communities have a right to expect that their elected leaders are ethical, trustworthy, and responsible, only representing the best interests of their constituents. Carlos Uresti betrayed the trust bestowed on him as public official. The sentence imposed reflects the gravity of his crime. The FBI, its law enforcement partners, and the U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to root out such graft in order to ensure that the citizens of South Texas receive honest representation by their elected officials,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Combs.
On June 26, 2018, Uresti was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $6.3 million in restitution. A jury convicted Uresti on various federal charges regarding his role in an investment Ponzi scheme centered on a company which purportedly bought and sold fracking sand for oil production, FourWinds, Inc.
The jury found that Uresti recruited investors under false pretenses by lying about investing his own money in FourWinds as well as failing to disclose his receipt of a commission and a percentage of the profits resulting from investments in FourWinds. Jurors also found that Uresti was not registered as a broker with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and that he and others engaged in money laundering with the proceeds of their fraud scheme.
The FBI’s Public Corruption Task Force is conducting this investigation. The Task Force includes investigators from the FBI, IRS-CI, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Peace Corps-Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph E. Blackwell and Sean O’Connell are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.