The bookkeeper for a Ponzi scheme that employed defamed State Senator Carlos Uresti as their lawyer has been sentenced to one year in prison for federal wire fraud charges, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
Reporter Michael Board was the only journalist in the courtroom Wednesay when Laura Jacobs said she was sorry for her role in the scheme that fleeced millions from investors in the now-defunct fracking sand company FourWinds Logistics.
"I would like to apologize," Jacobs said. "I just want to make things right and get on with my life."
Jacobs was one of six defendants charged in the massive fraud scheme, where bank statements and order forms were photoshopped to make it look like they were making massive profits when, in reality, they were bleeding cash thanks to a corrupt CEO and his enabling staff, which included Uresti.
When the scheme fell apart, Jacobs was one of the first to turn state's witness and help the government
."She helped up understand the scheme and provided us with evidence such as records and a computer," Assistant U.S. Joe Blackwell tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI in an exclusive courthouse interview, just after sentencing.
While not at the top of the government's list, Jacobs was an integral part of the scam.
Her attorney, Chis Gober, argued that unlike the other defendants, she was hired while the scheme was already underway.
"She did not sit down with the co-defendants and plan how this would happen," he argued in court.
But Federal Judge David Ezra described her role as the oil that kept the Ponzi scheme rolling
."She was not the car. She as not the engine itself," he said. "The problem here is that she was the oil. If it wasn't for her, the car would have gone forward, but not far."
In addition to forging documents, Jacobs also moved money around in the scam, and signed off on expenses like women to be flown in from Las Vegas to basically be prostitutes for the CEO.
Jacobs was the first witness in the federal fraud trial that ended with Carlos Uresti convicted and sentenced to 12 years in jail.
The CEO of FourWinds Logistics, Stan Bates, is set to be sentenced in August. He pled guilty right before a trial was set to start.
Judge Ezra called the company a 'circus,' and said Jacobs would be free if she just listened to that little voice on her shoulder.
"It's too bad that she didn’t listen to her conscience, which I know must have been pulling at her."