State Sen. Carlos Uresti Accused Of Bribery, Defrauding Investors In Ponzi Scheme

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 17, 2017 12:03 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, is facing two indictments on several charges from a federal grand jury.

Texas Public Radio’s Joey Palacios reports the federal government believes Uresti was participating in a ponzi scheme.

Sen. Uresti faces charges ranging from conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  He also faces charges of securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit bribery.

The Justice Department claims Uresti and other defendants created a Ponzi scheme to market hydraulic fracturing sand for oil production related to a company known as Four Winds.  It also claims the defendants made false statements and representations to solicit investors. The second indictment alleges Uresti and others offered to pay and accept bribes in order to secure a medical services contract from the Reeves County Correctional Center.

Some charges carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

In February, Uresti’s downtown San Antonio law office was raided by the FBI.  Uresti represents district 19 in the Texas Senate which encompasses south San Antonio and parts of Southwest Texas.

Several calls Texas Public Radio made to Uresti and his senate office went unreturned.

A year after the murder of an 11-year-old boy in Houston, the Texas Legislature is considering a transportation bill for students in higher-crime areas.

The Josue Flores Bill passed the Senate and is being considered by the Texas House Education Committee.

SB 195 would provide transportation funding to help students like Flores, who was attacked while walking home from his middle school.

Flores was stabbed 20 times.

Houston Public Media’s Ed Mayberry reports SB 195 would allow a school district or a county to apply for an additional ten percent of its regular transportation allotment to be used for getting kids safely to and from school in high-crime neighborhoods. If passed, the law would take effect this fall.

Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, sits on the House Committee for Public Education. She says SB 195 “allows for those who receive funding to address areas of high risk of violence, to support walking transportation programs like ‘Safe Walk Home’ on the North side of Houston.”

The bill was left pending by the Committee on Public Education. There’s no indication whether it will make it to the House floor.

A Texas appeals court has put the criminal case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on temporary hold.

The ruling late Tuesday follows Paxton’s attorneys request for a new judge in the case.

Paxton had been scheduled for trial in Houston in September on felony accusations that he recruited investors in a tech startup without revealing that the company was paying him.

Paxton has been trying to get Judge George Gallagher removed from his case since Gallagher moved the trial from Collin County to Harris County.

Gallagher had sided with prosecutors, who argued Paxton’s political allies and friends in Collin County had worked to taint the jury pool.

Paxton has pleaded not guilty, calling the case politically motivated.