An alleged Ponzi scheme that authorities say defrauded people millions of dollars has lead to an investigation that has placed embattled Texas Senator Carlos Uresti at the center of it all. Now, one of his alleged victims is seeking to get her money back.
Harlingen resident Denise Cantu is one of the many alleged victims. KENS 5 tracked down Cantu at her home to get her reaction to Tuesday’s federal indictments against Sen. Uresti, which allege that he committed fraud and bribery. Cantu is suing Uresti in the fraud case.
“Thank you for your time and I appreciate it, but I’m sorry. It is my attorney’s advice not to talk to anybody,” said Cantu before getting into her car outside her driveway.
It all started after a car crash in 2010 that claimed the lives of two of her four children. As Cantu’s attorney, Uresti helped her receive settlement money. The exact amount was never disclosed.
Cantu claims that the senator later advised her to invest $900,000 of that money into a company called FourWinds Logistics, a “fracking sand” operation that has since gone bankrupt.
“As a result of that relationship that was created between them, the senator was aware that my client, Ms. Cantu, had a ton of money. And he used, we believe, that information to his advantage and to the advantage of FourWinds Logistics,” said Oscar R. Alvarez, Cantu’s new attorney.
Alvarez filed suit against Uresti in January, months before Uresti’s federal indictments were announced this week on the same allegations of misleading investors. Cantu claims that the scheme went on until investors, like herself, finally became suspicious.
“When they got her money, they divided it among themselves,” Alvarez described. “The senator got a cut of it, and then they paid an initial investor to try to keep the Ponzi scheme going.”
After the announced indictments, Sen. Uresti showed up to his initial court hearing Wednesday, where he proclaimed his innocence and told reporters that he will return to Austin to focus on the final weeks of the Texas legislative session.
“I am innocent of these charges,” Uresti said outside of the San Antonio court. “I look forward to my day in court when all the facts come out.”
In the meantime, Cantu just wants all of her cash returned.
Aside from the lawsuit, Alvarez says that it’s very likely that his client will testify against Sen. Uresti if he decides to go to trial.