After a federal court jury convicted Carlos Uresti on all eleven counts of fraud he was charged with, U.S. District Judge David Ezra this afternoon sentenced the disgraced former state lawmaker to twelve years in federal prison, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The courtroom was packed during the hearing, with many spectators forced to wait outside. Even though they were allowed during Urestis trial, cell phones were prohibited.
Uresti told the judge in his sentencing statement that he feels 'ashamed and disappointed' about his actions.
"I have no one to blame but me." the disgraced former lawmaker said.
Uresti's lawyers had urged the judge to take into consideration the fact that Uresti served in the U.S. Marines and had a distinguished record as a member of the Texas House and Senate for 21 years.
Prosecutors had asked for nearly 22 years in prison, telling Judge Ezra that Uresti sold out his position as a Marine and as a state lawmaker by convincing several investors, including a woman who Uresti's law firm won a large settlement for, and with whom he allegedly had a sexual relationship.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Uresti knew that Fourwinds Logistics was a bogus company, but he convinced people to invest in it because he was getting a commission on their investments, something else he neglected to tell the investors.
It's been a tough year for Uresti. In addiction to the conviction, he surrendered his law license, he resigned from the Legislature, and his wife is divorcing him.
And the year is far from over. In October, Uresti will be right back in federal court, where he will stand trial on charges that he bribed west Texas county officials to award a lucrative commissary contract for a state jail in the county to a businessman who hired him.
Judge Ezra allowed Uresti to remain free on bond pending his next trial, so he can meet with lawyers and prepare his defense.