Jury convicts ex-con Wayne Ogden of real-estate fraud
A federal court jury on Monday convicted ex-con Wayne Ogden of six counts of fraud for lying to investors, forging documents and using tens of thousands of their dollars for personal expenses while operating a Ponzi scheme.
The 12-person jury returned a verdict Monday afternoon. U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups set sentencing for June 19. Ogden could get up to 20 years in prison for each count.
The panel began deliberating Friday afternoon on the charges stemming from Ogden's involvement in a real-estate investment company in 2001 and early 2002 that supposedly was going to develop 360 acres of property near Kiowa, Colo.
Instead, Ogden used forged documents to divert several million dollars of investor monies to pay returns to other investors, in what is known as a Ponzi scheme, and also used monies for personal uses, such as buying his then-girlfriend a new BMW car.
Ogden blamed the crimes on others, mostly employees of his companies. The 48-year-old testified that he had given information to the FBI that, had agents acted, would have closed down the fraud and saved investors millions of dollars.
Prosecutors countered that in going to the FBI, Ogden was acting to try to divert attention from himself and that he signed a confession admitting to various crimes.
In a phone interview after the verdict, Ogden continued to blame the FBI for failing to stop the fraud.
"The FBI could have dropped the bomb on that exact first time we met and they would have put all this to bed in a matter of hours," said Ogden, who also said a hedge fund that sold investments in his company created a document falsely saying the development would include a golf course.
In testimony, he also blamed others at his company and a title insurance company owner for the fraud.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Lund, one of prosecutors on the case, declined comment after the verdict.
Ogden, now of Koosharem in Sevier County, got back into real-estate investment not long after he got out of prison on a 1997 Weber County conviction of theft by deception and money laundering. In 2007, he was indicted by a federal grand jury for operating a real-estate development company, Sandy-based Empire Investment Group, as a Ponzi scheme. He backed out of a plea agreement in June 2011.
Ogden and his brother, Terry, also were indicted in 2011 for their operation of Paradigm Acceptance LLC, another alleged Ponzi scheme that took in $29 million in investor money. Trial in that case is set for April.