SALT LAKE CITY — The defense is promising a vigorous show as Wayne Ogden’s trial on the latest Ponzi allegations nears the end of its second week.
During breaks in the proceedings in federal court Wednesday, the defense team let out some detail as to whom they will call to the stand once the prosecution rests. The U.S. Attorney’s Office may conclude as early as Friday its tapestry of the trail of money, signatures, and documents among the investors and the principals in what the government alleges was a 2001-03 Sandy-based scam tied to a Colorado real estate proposal that never got off the ground.
The multimillion-dollar scam alleged after a four-year FBI investigation came down to eight wire and securities fraud charges against the former South Ogden real estate agent. The trial before U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups is scheduled to run through Feb. 10.
In opening arguments Jan. 23, Ogden’s public defender Mary Corporon told the 12-member jury that Ogden, 48, was actually working undercover first for the DEA, then the FBI and state fraud investigators when the scheme collapsed. Defense witnesses are expected to include those involved who are testifying under immunity from prosecution.
Up to 10 witnesses may take the stand under defense subpoenas.
That includes DEA agent Gerald Kaphing, whom Ogden approached while still in Utah State Prison on fraud charges from bilking some 500 victims, mostly from Weber County, of an estimated $7 million in the late 1990s. The court-ordered restitution amount has grown to more than $9 million with the interest accumulating.
Kaphing became Ogden’s DEA handler, Corporon told the jury, in investigations of drug dealing in the real estate industry. Ogden was instrumental in the DEA case against his former friend Todd Christensen, landing him in federal prison, Corporon told the jury.
Ogden also was charged federally in 2011 with yet another alleged scam, set for trial in April in the same federal courthouse before Judge Ted Stewart.
Brother Terry Ogden is a co-defendant in that case, which alleges Wayne Ogden masterminded yet another Ponzi scheme in St. George while running a credit counseling firm in 2005 and 2006. A Ponzi involves using funds from new investors to pay returns to prior investors.