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|Member of the Texas Senate|
from the 19th district
November 2006 - June 21, 2018
|Frank L. Madla|
|Member of the Texas House of Representatives|
from the 118th district
January 1997 - November 2006
|Born||September 12, 1963|
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Residence||San Antonio, Texas|
|Alma mater||Saint Mary's University|
|Branch/service||United States Marine Corps|
Carlos "Charlie" Uresti (born September 18, 1963) is an American attorney and Democratic politician from San Antonio, Texas. From November 2006 until his resignation in June 2018, he served as a member of the Texas State Senate representing Senate District 19, one of the largest geographical senatorial districts in the Texas Senate, covering a third of the Texas-Mexico Border. Prior to his election to the Texas State Senate, he represented the 118th district in the Texas House of Representatives from January 1997 until November 2006.
In February 2018, Uresti was found guilty of 11 federal felony charges relating to his alleged involvement in a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. On June 18, 2018, he announced his resignation from the Texas State Senate, effective June 21, 2018. On June 26, 2018, Uresti was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.He is scheduled to surrender to the U.S. Marshalls on February 19, 2019.
Carlos Uresti was born in San Antonio on September 18, 1963, the youngest of 8 children. He grew up on the Southside of San Antonio and attended McCollum High School, where he was a part of the JROTC. After graduation, Uresti enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves at the age of 18. In 1985, he earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science from St. Mary's University, and was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. Uresti rose to the rank of captain and earned the Navy Achievement Medal during his four years of active duty as a combat engineer. After his military career, Uresti returned to St. Mary's University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1992. Since then, he has been in private practice in San Antonio, currently with The Uresti Law Firm.
Uresti married Lleanna Elizondo in 2012. She has two children, Katalina and Sebastian, and he has two sons: Michael, a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University, and Carlos, Jr., who is a 2011 Texas A&M University-San Antonio graduate and a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Uresti is the grandfather to Benjamin, Evan, and Julia. Two of his brothers are also involved in San Antonio politics: Albert Uresti ran unsuccessfully for US Congress in 2006 and was elected Tax Assessor-Collector of Bexar County in 2012, and Tomas Uresti is the member-elect for the Texas House of Representatives in District 118.
Uresti entered state politics during the 1997 special election for Texas House District 118. During his nine-year career in the House, he chaired the Committee on Human Services during the 78th Legislature and the Committee on Government Reform during the 79th Legislature. Uresti was elected to the Texas State Senate in 2006 representing Senate District 19, after challenging 13-year incumbent Frank Madla in a contentious and sometimes heated primary election. Democratic activists were critical of Senator Madla for being too closely tied to the Republican leadership in the Senate and unwilling to utilize senatorial power to prevent the passage of Republican bills. Specifically, Uresti scrutinized Madla's role in a 2003 vote to remove 180,000 youngsters from the Children's Health Insurance Program. Madla controversially referred to Uresti's charge as a "procedural matter." Eventually, Uresti prevailed with 56.5 percent of the vote to Madla's 43.5 percent, and Senator Madla resigned effective May 31, 2006. For his second term, Uresti faced an unexpectedly difficult reelection in 2010, winning by less than 9,000 votes. The Senator attributed this to inadequate voter outreach in rural and exurban counties. In 2012, Uresti won by a significantly wider 19-point margin.
On February 16, 2017, FBI and IRS agents raided Uresti's law offices in connection with the investigation into FourWinds, a fraudulent fracking business. Uresti released a statement shortly after stating that he would fully cooperate with agents during their investigation.
Targeted in the raid was Uresti's consulting company, Turning Point Strategies; the FBI was investigating "investors or contributors" in the company, which collected Uresti's commissions for handling a former client's $900,000 investment with FourWinds. The client, Denise Cantu (born 1980) of Harlingen, lost much of the money that she obtained from a case involving the wrongful death of two of her children. Uresti subsequently acquired a $25,000 loan from Cantu and borrowed $75,000 from three other individuals, including one of his Senate staff members.
Cantu separately filed a civil suit against Uresti, alleging fraud after she invested heavily in the failed FourWinds Logistics. Cantu claims that Uresti "tricked" her with the investment and did not disclose that he received a $27,000 commission from FourWinds for successfully soliciting her business. Cantu claims that FourWinds divided her money among the company officers and did not purchase fracking sand as they had promised. Uresti denied any wrongdoing and asked that the suit be delayed until after the legislature adjourned at the end of May.
On May 16, 2017, Uresti was indicted on two separate indictments by a federal grand jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The other indictment lists conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Uresti is alleged to have taken money from Physicians Network Associates (PNA), which had a contract for medical services as the Reeves County Detention Center, a scheme which continued through PNA's successor companies. The indictment claims acting Reeves County administrator, Judge Jimmy Galindo, conspired to approve the medical contract through the county commissioners court in exchange for kickbacks and "promises of future payments." PNA hired Uresti, ostensibly as a "consultant" for "marketing services." The prosecution claims that in fact Uresti became the middleman for bribe money destined for Galindo. PNA was subsequently absorbed by Correctional Healthcare Companies in 2010 which then merged with another provider, Correct Care Solutions, in 2014. PNA and its successor corporations continued to pay Uresti $10,000 monthly, starting in September 2006 for the next ten years. Uresti is alleged to have pocketed about half of those bribes, giving Galindo the balance.
On May 20, 2017, the San Antonio Express-News called on Uresti to resign.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Joseph Bemporad ruled on June 30 that Uresti's attorney, Mikal Watts, has a conflict of interest in the case but did not immediately remove Watts from representing Uresti. Bemporad said that the case against Uresti is tied to the wrongful death case that Watts' legal firm conducted on behalf of Denise Cantu.
In June of 2018, Uresti was sentenced to twelve years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay restitution to his victims in the amount of $6.3 million.
In December 2017, The Daily Beast published an article containing numerous sexual harassment allegations against Uresti. After the publication of the article, Democratic State Senator Sylvia Garcia called for an investigation into the allegations. The reports mostly were attributed to anonymous sources. Annie's List, an organization that advocates for the election of Democratic women in Texas, has urged Uresti to resign following reports of sexual misconduct. The Daily Beast claimed that an unidentified female staffer was reportedly sitting on Uresti's lap on the first day of the 2013 session.
Uresti claimed it was his wife and produced a picture of the couple sitting together at the event.
Uresti has been a proponent of reform within the Child Protective Services, saying CPS needs to be better funded and needs reformed management practices, lower caseloads per worker, and higher salaries. He has pushed for more resources to be put towards abuse prevention.
During the 84th Legislative Session, Uresti pushed for increased funding for CPS to hire more caseworkers in order to reduce workloads. In a 2016 interim hearing, Senator Uresti advocated for better pay for CPS caseworkers, in order to decrease turnover and training costs.
Uresti was a proponent of Proposition 6, which provided $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to the State Water Plan, allowing low-interest loans for more than 560 water supply projects, saying that Texas needed to "take a progressive and forward looking approach to our long-term water needs."
Uresti has served in the Texas State Senate since 2006, having previously served in the Texas House of Representatives since 1997.
|?||Carlos "Charlie" Uresti||39,931||74.56|
|Libertarian||Mette A. Baker||3,269||2.77|
|?||Carlos Uresti (Incumbent)||25,969||76.16|
|Luis Juarez Jr.||8,125||23.83|
|Frank L. Madla (Incumbent)||18,936||43.48|
Two elections were held on November 7, 2006 due to Senator Frank Madla's resignation following his loss in the Primary. Senator Uresti was sworn into the Senate in November rather than January because of his victory in the special election.
|Democratic||Carlos "Charlie" Uresti||21,265||56.79|
|Democratic||Carlos "Charlie" Uresti||14,416||100.00|
|Democratic||Carlos "Charlie" Uresti||19,748||100.00|
|Democratic||Carlos "Charlie" Uresti||9,878||100.00|
|?||Carlos "Charlie" Uresti||2,629||65.20|
|Democratic||Carlos "Charlie" Uresti||2,805||64.31|
|Republican||Charley "Injun" Sanford||273||4.97|
|Democratic||Carlos "Charlie" Uresti||2,525||46.01|