While many point the finger of corruption at Republicans and President Donald Trump, Democrats around the country continue to be indicted and convicted of actual crimes. This time, one of the leaders of the Democratic party in Texas has been indicted, and is facing over 200 years in prison.
Texas State Sen. Carlos Uresti has been indicted on 11 separate counts, ranging from money laundering to fraud. Each count carries prison time ranging from 10 to 20 years in prison. It is a sobering situation for Uresti, one of the state’s leading Democrats whose district covers much of the San Antonio area.
The charges all stem from what prosecutors called a Ponzi-scheme involving investment in a fracking industry company Uresti formed. Suddenly, it appears Democrats are fine with fossil fuels and fracking when it benefits them. Several of Uresti’s associates in the company were also indicted.
It has not been a good month for Democrats in court. The Uresti indictment comes shortly after former Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida was convicted of fraud.
A federal grand jury returned two separate indictments against the 53-year-old District 19 Democrat Texas State Senator. Three other individuals were also charged by the grand jury.
The indictment charges Carlos Uresti, 45-year-old Four Winds Chief Executive Officer Stanley P. Bates of San Antonio, and 60-year-old Four Winds consultant Gary L. Cain of San Antonio with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
A news release states Uresti is also charged 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. Bates, according to the Department of Justice, is charged 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 release states Cain is also facing seven counts of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity.
The Department of Justice says the indictment alleges Uresti, Bates, and Cain developed “an investment Ponzi scheme to market hydraulic fracturing (fracking) sand for oil production. They’re accused of making false statements and representations to solicit investors in Four Winds and allegedly used funds from more recent investors to pay earlier investors and for personal expenses.
For each fraud related charge, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction. For each money laundering charge, the defendants face up to ten years in federal prison upon conviction. Uresti faces up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction of being an unregistered securities broker.
Uresti and a fourth defendant, 44–year-old Vernon C. Farthing, III, of Lubbock, TX, are both charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Justice Department officials say the indictment alleges Uresti and Farthing conspired with others to pay and accept bribes in order to secure a Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract for Farthing’s company. Farthing is accused of paying Uresti $10,000 a month as a marketing consultant and that half of that sum was then allegedly given to a Reeves County official for his support and vote to award the contract to Farthing’s company.
If convicted, 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.
Texas Republicans seized upon news of the indictment of Carlos Uresti. The Texas Tribune reports.
Texas GOP chairman Tom Mechler was quick to condemn Uresti in a prepared statement: “As I’ve said before, there is an unprecedented amount of corruption among Texas Democrats, and Senator Uresti’s indictment only further proves that they are clearly incapable of being entrusted with governing in the state of Texas.”