After nearly a month of testimony, final arguments and jury deliberations are expected today in the fraud trial of State Senator Carlos Uresti and a co-defendant, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Uresti is charged in federal court in San Antonio with eleven counts of fraud for allegedly knowingly scamming investors into putting money into a fracking sand company, Fourwinds Logistics, that Uresti knew was a 'Ponzi scheme.'
Several witnesses testified during the course of the trial that Uresti was an active participant in Fourwinds' operations, luring investors from the U.S. and Mexico, including a McAllen woman who invested the bulk of a million dollar car wreck settlement Uresti won for her in his law practice.
Several people testified that Uresti profited largely from his association with Fourwinds, and as investors were losing everything, Uresti went from bouncing checks to buying a $2 million home in Helotes, and once showed a would-be investor his $1.4 million checking account balance.
Witness after witness testified that Uresti was brought into Fourwinds specifically to use his connections and influence as a State Senator and a U.S. Marine to convince investors to trust the company.
Testimony also demonstrated that Fourwinds was a questionable operation, with employees drunk in the office at 10AM, 'surgically enhanced and scantily clad women' on the payroll, and a bookkeeper who allegedly photoshopped investment materials and even cooked the company's books to attract investors.
But witnesses also said Uresti had little knowledge of the company's inner workings, and was a 'finder' whose job it was to simply find investors. Witnesses testified that Uresti attracted them to meetings where other company officials would make the investment pitch, and defense lawyers successfully blamed other Fourwinds officials, especially the company CEO, with being the brains behind the scam.
The prosecution's key witness was also impeached on cross examination. She testified that she and Uresti flirted 'in the elevator' after she gave a deposition, but defense lawyers introduced evidence that the deposition was given in a one story building.
Uresti did not take the stand, and prominent names on the defense witness list, from Henry Cisneros to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, did not testify.