Carlos Uresti
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Carlos Uresti

Carlos Uresti
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 19th district

November 2006 - June 21, 2018
Frank L. Madla
Pete Flores
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 118th district

January 1997 - November 2006
Ciro Rodriguez
Joe Farias
Personal details
Born (1963-09-12) September 12, 1963 (age 55)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Lleanna Uresti
ResidenceSan Antonio, Texas
Alma materSaint Mary's University
WebsiteCampaign website
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited 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.[1][2] 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.[3]He is scheduled to surrender to the U.S. Marshalls on February 19, 2019.[4]

Early life and family

Carlos Uresti was born in San Antonio on September 18, 1963, the youngest of 8 children.[5][6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[6] 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.[9]

Political career

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."[10] Eventually, Uresti prevailed with 56.5 percent of the vote to Madla's 43.5 percent, and Senator Madla resigned effective May 31, 2006.[11] 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.[12] In 2012, Uresti won by a significantly wider 19-point margin.

Federal investigation and prosecution

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.[13][14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18]

On May 20, 2017, the San Antonio Express-News called on Uresti to resign.[19]

In a court filing, the federal prosecutors assert that because of overwhelming personal financial woes, Uresti carried out a "Ponzi scheme" that defrauded Cantu (cited as Victim 1).[20]

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.[21]

Uresti's federal jury trial on eleven charges, which included money laundering, wire fraud, and securities fraud, concluded with 11 guilty verdicts.[22] He then resigned from the Texas Senate.[23]

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.[4]

Sexual harassment allegations

In December 2017, The Daily Beast published an article containing numerous sexual harassment allegations against Uresti.[24] After the publication of the article, Democratic State Senator Sylvia Garcia called for an investigation into the allegations.[25] 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.[26]

Political positions


Uresti has advocated for increased state investment in transportation infrastructure. He was a vocal critic of the TxDOT plan to replace heavily trafficked county roads with gravel.[27]

Child abuse and neglect

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.[28] He has pushed for more resources to be put towards abuse prevention.[29]

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.[30]


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."[31]

Election history

Uresti has served in the Texas State Senate since 2006, having previously served in the Texas House of Representatives since 1997.[32]


Texas general election, 2016: Senate District 19[33]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Pete Flores 97,682 40.43
Democratic Carlos Uresti 134,997 55.87
Libertarian Maximilian Martin 8,948 3.70
Turnout 241,627
Democratic hold
Democratic primary, 2016: Senate District 19[34]
Candidate Votes % ±
Helen Madla 13,627 25.44
? Carlos "Charlie" Uresti 39,931 74.56


Texas general election, 2012: Senate District 19[35]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Michael Berlanga 83,522 40.59
Democratic Carlos Uresti 122,214 59.40
Turnout 205,736
Democratic hold


Texas general election, 2010: Senate District 19[36]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Dick Bowen 53,024 45.08
Democratic Carlos Uresti 61,327 52.13
Libertarian Mette A. Baker 3,269 2.77
Turnout 117,620
Democratic hold
Democratic primary, 2010: Senate District 19[37]
Candidate Votes % ±
? Carlos Uresti (Incumbent) 25,969 76.16
Luis Juarez Jr. 8,125 23.83
Turnout 34,094 100.00


Texas general election, 2006: Senate District 19[38]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Dick Bowen 40,556 40.82
Democratic Carlos Uresti 58,793 59.18
Majority 18,237 18.36
Turnout 99,349
Democratic hold
Special election: Senate District 19, Unexpired term[39]
November 7, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Dick Bowen 39,312 40.64
Democratic Carlos Uresti 57,426 59.36
Majority 18,237 18.72
Turnout 96,738
Democratic hold
Democratic primary, 2006: Senate District 19[11]
Candidate Votes % ±
Frank L. Madla (Incumbent) 18,936 43.48
? Carlos Uresti 24,610 56.51
Turnout 12,025

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.


Texas general election, 2004: House District 118[40]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Steve Salyer 16,183 43.21
Democratic Carlos "Charlie" Uresti 21,265 56.79
Majority 5,082 13.57
Turnout 37,448
Democratic hold


Texas general election, 2002: House District 118[41]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Carlos "Charlie" Uresti 14,416 100.00
Majority 14,416 100.00
Turnout 14,416
Democratic hold


Texas general election, 2000: House District 118[42]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Carlos "Charlie" Uresti 19,748 100.00
Majority 19,748 100.00
Turnout 19,748
Democratic hold


Texas general election, 1998: House District 118[43]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Carlos "Charlie" Uresti 9,878 100.00
Majority 9,878 100.00
Turnout 9,878
Democratic hold
Democratic primary, 1998: House District 118[44]
Candidate Votes % ±
Sylvia Ruiz-Mendelsohn 1,403 34.80
? Carlos "Charlie" Uresti 2,629 65.20
Turnout 4,032


Special election runoff, House District 118 - Unexpired term[45]
June 21, 1997
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Sylvia Ruiz-Mendelsohn 1,557 35.69
Democratic Carlos "Charlie" Uresti 2,805 64.31
Turnout 4,362
Democratic hold
Special election, House District 118 - Unexpired term[45]
May 30, 1997
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Sylvia Ruiz-Mendelsohn 1,605 29.25
Republican Charley "Injun" Sanford 273 4.97
Democratic Davis Sosa 1,085 19.77
Democratic Carlos "Charlie" Uresti 2,525 46.01
Turnout 4,362


  1. ^ "Texas state Sen. Uresti, co-defendant Cain found guilty on all charges in criminal fraud trial". February 22, 2018.
  2. ^ Tribune, The Texas (June 18, 2018). "Texas state Sen. Carlos Uresti resigns after felony convictions".
  3. ^ "Former state Sen. Carlos Uresti gets 12 years in prison in federal corruption case". June 26, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Palacios, Joey (February 12, 2019). "Carlos Uresti Gets 5 Years In Bribery Case, Must Surrender to Marshals By Feb. 19". Texas Public Radio. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ Texas Department of Health. Birth Certificate for Carlos Ismael Uresti, September 12, 1963. Index at (accessed December 17, 2006)
  6. ^ a b Texas Senate: Senator Carlos I. Uresti: District 19. Official biography. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 12, 2000. Retrieved 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) (accessed November 29, 2006).
  7. ^ "Reflections of a Southsider Turned State Senator - Rivard ReportRivard Report".
  8. ^ "Meet Carlos - State Senator Carlos Uresti - Texas Senate District 19".
  9. ^ "Tomas Uresti - Ballotpedia".
  10. ^ "Uresti v Madla: Overview of a Texas Democratic primary bloodbath". Burnt Orange Report. February 17, 2006. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ a b "2006 Democratic Party Primary Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .
  12. ^ "For Democratic Sen. Carlos Uresti, thoughts of drowning in the Republican wave". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Contreras, Guillermo; Danner, Patrick (February 16, 2017). "FBI, IRS raid state Sen. Carlos Uresti's San Antonio law office". San Antonio Express-News. Hearest Newspapers. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ "Texas Sen. Carlos Uresti's office raided by FBI, IRS". KXAN-TV. February 16, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ Patrick Danner and Guillermo Contreras, "Consulting firm was a target: Sen. Uresti's company is housed in same building as law business", San Antonio Express-News, February 26, 2017, pp. 1, A20.
  16. ^ Patrick Danner, "Woman sues Uresti for fraud: Harlingen resident claims she was tricked into FourWinds investment," San Antonio Express-News, March 10, 2017, pp. 1, A8.
  17. ^ Jechow, Andy (May 16, 2017). "State Sen. Carlos Uresti indicted on bribery, money laundering charges". KXAN-TV. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ Indictment Links State Sen. Uresti to Private Prison Contract at Scandal-Plagued Lockup for Immigrants, San Antonio Current, Michael Barajas, May 18, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  19. ^ "Sen. Uresti, think of your constituents and resign" (editorial), San Antonio Express-News, May 20, 2017, p. A18.
  20. ^ Patrick Danner, "Feds put forth a motive: Prosecutors says Uresti driven by financial woes," San Antonio Express-News, June 3, 2017, pp. 1, A11.
  21. ^ Patrick Danner, "Lawyer defending Uresti has a conflict, judge rules: Weighs removing Watts from fraud case," San Antonio Express-News, July 1, 2017, pp. B1, B6.
  22. ^ Palacios, Joey; Poppe, Ryan (February 22, 2018). "State Sen. Carlos Uresti Found Guilty On All Charges". Texas Public Radio. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ Platoff, Emma; Tribune, Texas (June 18, 2018). "Carlos Uresti Announces Resignation From Texas Senate". Texas Public Radio. Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ Messer, Olivia (December 6, 2017). "'You Want to F*ck With Me Tonight?': Horror Stories from the Texas Capitol". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ Silver, Johnathan (December 7, 2017). "Houston lawmaker asks for inquiry after more sexual misconduct claims". Austin American Statesman. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ Women's group urges Texas Sens. Miles, Uresti to resign after sexual misconduct reports, Texas Tribune, Jolie McCullough & Morgan Smith, December 7, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  27. ^ Gerlach, Jeremy (September 16, 2013). "Uresti: TxDOT should reconsider gravel roads". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ Brodesky, Josh (June 20, 2014). "Kids caught in toxic workplace of CPS". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ Stoeltje, Melissa (April 1, 2014). "Town hall addresses abuse and neglect". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ Lopez, Ashley (April 21, 2016). "How Will Texas Find the Resources Needed to Fix Child Protective Services?". Retrieved 2016.
  31. ^ Uresti, Carlos (October 14, 2012). "Vote for Prop. 6 to help meet Texas water needs". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ Uncontested primary elections are not shown.
  33. ^ "2016 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on December 28, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  34. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2016 Democratic Party Primary Election. (accessed April 27, 2016)
  35. ^ "2012 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .
  36. ^ "2010 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .
  37. ^ "Texas Senate District 19". Texas Tribune. Retrieved 2014.
  38. ^ "2006 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .
  39. ^ "2006 Special November Elections". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .
  40. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2004 General Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) (accessed November 28, 2006)
  41. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2002 General Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) (accessed November 28, 2006)
  42. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2000 General Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) (accessed November 28, 2006)
  43. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 1998 General Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) (accessed November 28, 2006)
  44. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 1998 Democratic Party Primary Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) (accessed November 29, 2006)
  45. ^ a b Office of the Secretary of State. June 1997 Special Election Runoff. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved .CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) (accessed November 28, 2006)

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