Former San Antonio State Senator Carlos Uresti is vowing to appeal both his conviction on eleven counts of fraud back in February, and the 12 year prison sentence he received in federal court in San Antonio late Tuesday, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"In your worst nightmare, you don't imagine this happening to you," Uresti told reporters outside the courthouse following the sentencing. "It happened, I can stand here and tell you a million different reasons why I disagree with it, but we will fight it, we will file our appeals in a timely manner, and we will see what the court of appeals decides."
Uresti, 54, was convicted of defrauding investors in a bogus fracking sand company called Fourwinds Logistics. He was also ordered to pay a staggering $6.3 million in restitution to the investors he was convicted of ripping off.
Uresti said he is in the process of selling his former law office and his home to begin to repay the victims.
"There were many issues that we disagree with, absolutely, so we plan to continue to fight."
U.S. Attorney John Bash praised the sentence, which was more severe than many court watchers had expected. The general feeling was that Uresti would receive eight years in prison.
"As Judge (David) Ezra said, this is a sad day for the community," Bash said. "The judge imposed a just sentence of 12 years in prison that accounts for the fact that former Senator Uresti used his position of trust in the community to lure his victims to the fraudulent scheme at the heart of the case. I hope that this sentence sends the message to others that this office will not tolerate such outrageous abuses of power.”
Uresti was allowed to remain free on bond while he prepares for another federal trial. He is charged with bribing officials of Reeves County, which is in his former State Senate district, to award a lucrative state jail concessions contract to a businessman who was paying Uresti.
"This is just another obstacle," Uresti said of the upcoming trial, which is set to begin in February. "We don't give up, I have always taught my family, you never give up, and when you're right, you're right, so we are not going to give up."