January 8, 2018
The onetime CEO of a Texas oil field services company is pleading guilty to nine felony charges — reportedly without a plea bargain — in a San Antonio federal criminal case in which a co-defendant is state senator Carlos Uresti.
The San Antonio Express News reports the now-defunct FourWinds Logistics company’s Stan Bates made a surprise guilty plea at a hearing in Senior US District Judge David Alan Ezra‘s court on Monday.
Bates could serve decades in prison; he is due to be sentenced in April.
Judge Ezra said Bates changed his mind about his plea two minutes before the hearing, during which Bates’ lawyer intended to ask that Bates be tried separately from Uresti and a third co-defendant, Gary Cain.
All three were arrested in May 2017 after what prosecutors have called a Ponzi scheme involving FourWinds, in which investors were allegedly duped.
The defendants are charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to court documents.
Jury selection in the trial is set to begin in 10 days; Bates could be called to testify in Uresti and Cain’s trial.
Judge Ezra, 70, a Reagan appointee, has served in San Antonio since 2012, when he moved his bench from Hawaii to the San Antonio-centered federal court Western District of Texas when that district became overcrowded with immigration, drug and civil cases.