Former state Sen.Carlos Uresti has had a five-year concurrent sentence for bribery added to the 12 years he got in June for his role in a failed multimillion-dollar investment scheme.
Uresti, 55, who has been free on bail for nearly a year since his first conviction, was ordered Tuesday by U.S. District Judge David Ezra to turn himself in by next week to begin serving his sentence.
In addition to the concurrent five years, Ezra ordered the former San Antonio legislator to pay $876,000 in restitution to Reeves County, where the bribery occurred. As The Texas Monitor reported, Uresti had already been ordered to make a $6.3 million restitution as part of his sentence on securities fraud and money laundering convictions.
Uresti will first be eligible for release in 2029, according to court documents.
“I’m ready to put this behind me, and I just ask for all your prayers,” the San Antonio Express-News quoted Uresti as telling the court Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to bribery, he said, because “I did what I thought what was not only in my best interest but in the best interest of my family.”
Shortly before his first sentencing, Uresti resigned his seat as a Democrat representing District 19, which covers much of southwest Texas, from San Antonio to the Big Bend.
In a special election last September, Republican Pete Flores, a former Uresti opponent, won the right to serve out Uresti’s term in office, ending in 2021. Flores beat out Democrat and former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego.
Despite the prison term, Uresti’s 22 years in the Texas House and Senate earned him an $80,000-a-year pension.
Uresti’s legislative career began its unraveling with his arrest in May 2017 on 11 felony counts relating to an investment scheme for a company called FourWinds Logistics, of which he was a minor owner. Court documents referred to it as a Ponzi scheme.
Denise Cantu, Uresti’s mistress and star witness against him, lost almost all of the $900,000 she invested in FourWinds.
Mark Lisheron can be reached at [email protected].