*This story has been updated throughout.
SAN ANTONIO — The courtroom was silent and thick with anxiety Thursday morning as the judge’s deputy read the verdicts: “Guilty,” “guilty,” “guilty” — 11 times over, and on all felony counts.
State - Sen - Carlos - Uresti - Gaze
State Sen. Carlos Uresti sat stone-faced, his gaze directed at the deputy, as he heard the ruling that throws into question his two-decade career in the Texas Legislature and opens up the possibility of years in federal prison and millions in fines.
If upheld on appeal, the 11 felony charges — including multiple counts of fraud and money laundering — would render the San Antonio Democrat ineligible to continue serving as a state legislator. Uresti has no immediate plans to step down from his seat in the state Senate, he said minutes after the verdict. And he will “absolutely” appeal the jury’s decision.
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Uresti was charged last year in connection with FourWinds Logistics, a now-bankrupt oilfield services company that perpetrated a Ponzi scheme against its investors. Uresti served as general counsel for FourWinds and owned 1 percent of the company. He also earned commission for recruiting investors, according to court documents.
Company - Leaders - Fraud - Charges - Uresti
Several of the company’s leaders pleaded guilty to fraud charges before Uresti’s case even went to trial, some of them in plea agreements to testify for the government. Prosecutors argued that Uresti had used his prestigious reputation to lend credibility to an unknown company; several investors testified that Uresti’s presence reassured them that their money would be safe with FourWinds. But Uresti’s lawyers countered that the lawmaker was never aware of, or involved in, the company’s shady dealings.
Uresti’s co-defendant, former FourWinds consultant Gary Cain, was also found guilty on all counts.
Uresti - Courtroom - Hands - Line - Family
As Uresti left the courtroom, he hugged and shook the hands of a receiving line of family members,...
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