Federal Grand Jury Indicts Texas State Senator Carlos Uresti
UPDATE -- Vernon C. Farthing, III, was acquitted of the charges alleged in the indictment described in the press release below.
In San Antonio today, a federal grand jury returned two separate indictments against District 19 Texas State Senator Carlos I. Uresti announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division. Three other individuals were also charged by the grand jury.
FOUR WINDS INDICTMENT
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 indictment alleges that the defendants developed an investment Ponzi scheme to market hydraulic fracturing (fracking) sand for oil production. It further alleges that the defendants made false statements and representations to solicit investors in Four Winds. The defendants 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.
REEVES COUNTY INDICTMENT
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.
The indictment alleges that from January 2006 to September 2016, the defendants conspired with others to pay and accept bribes in order to secure a Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract for Farthing’s company. The indictment specifically alleges that Farthing paid Uresti $10,000 a month as a marketing consultant and that half of that sum was then given to a Reeves County official for his support and vote to award the contract to Farthing’s company.
Upon conviction of the charges contained in this indictment, the defendants 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.
It is anticipated that initial appearances for Uresti, Bates and Cain will be tomorrow at 11:00am before United States Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad in San Antonio. Farthing’s initial appearance is expected to occur at 11:00am on Thursday in front of Judge Bemporad.
The FBI’s Pubic Corruption Task Force is conducting this investigation. The Task Force is comprised of investigators from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Peace Corps-Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph E. Blackwell, William R. Harris and Mark Roomberg are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.