Serial scammer Wayne Reed Ogden was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison, but not before a federal judge indicated others should have been charged in the Ponzi scheme and said he didn’t find the testimony of an FBI agent credible.
Ogden was previously convicted of fraud in state court and he also faces sentencing next week in another case in federal court.
Ogden’s attorney, Jaime Zenger, said Ogden agreed with the 10-year sentence recommendation by government prosecutors because Ogden hoped to get the same sentence next week and will ask that it run concurrently.
A U.S. District Court jury in February found Ogden guilty on 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 disguised as a real estate investment company.
While U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said he agreed that the jury had sufficient evidence to convict Ogden, several people who worked with him in the real estate investment company also should have been charged.
"I believe there is a question of why Mr. Ogden was prosecuted and others were not," Waddoups said in addressing letters sent to him by Ogden’s family. Waddoups specifically cited two people who worked closely with Ogden and testified against him at the trial.
Waddoups also said he found the testimony of FBI Special Agent Carol Covert "lacking in credibility." Covert had testified that Ogden had come to her and another agent in 2003 and confessed to crimes, according to court documents.
Waddoups did not say why he didn’t believe Covert’s testimony. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah declined comment.
Covert also was involved with the FBI’s case against Wen Ho Lee, the Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist charged with leaking nuclear secrets to China but who went free after the investigation was exposed as deeply flawed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Hirata urged Waddoups to give Ogden only two weeks before he had to surrender for transport to prison, citing his conviction in three fraud cases.
"The bottom line is Mr. Ogden, in the government’s view, is incapable of making an honest dollar," said an impassioned Hirata. "He is a patently dishonest man. Fraud is in his DNA."
Ogden also was ordered to pay $4.86 million in restitution to his victims, but only required to pay $25 a month while he’s in prison and $100 a month once he’s gets out.
Ogden is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 15 to two charges stemming from a Washington County fraud in which he and his brother ran Paradigm Acceptance LLC as a Ponzi scheme. Terry Ogden also has plead guilty in that case and is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 16.
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