Amid his latest fraud cases, Wayne Ogden's lawyer withdraws

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:17 AM

Tim Gurrister

SALT LAKE CITY — Instead of dealing with the threat of his own brother testifying against him at his next federal fraud trial, proceedings have been postponed as Wayne Ogden’s court-appointed attorney withdrew from the case.

Next month’s trial on Ogden’s latest alleged Ponzi scheme has been bumped to May to give his new public defender time to come up to speed on the case.

Just last month the former Weber County swindler was convicted in federal court here on fraud charges for a 2002 real estate project investigators say turned into a Ponzi scheme.

During that three-week trial, more than 15 investors testified to losing some $7 million in the scheme prosecutors said Ogden masterminded out of his Sandy development firm. Unique was Ogden’s testimony that he was working undercover for the FBI at the time.

He was indicted in 2007 on those charges, with Mary Corporon appointed to represent him at the time. She was also named to represent him when he was indicted again in 2011 along with brother Terry for an alleged scam in St. George.

But Corporon abruptly withdrew as his attorney at a hearing last week for oral arguments on Ogden’s motion seeking to sever his case from his brother’s, meant to schedule one trial for each on the latest charges.

On Friday, Corporon declined to give a reason for her withdrawal after six years, saying, “Ethically, I’m precluded from commenting at all.”

She had filed the motion to sever in the St. George case, as well as motions to set aside February’s verdict and hold a new trial.

In the St. George case, the motion seeking separate trials for Ogden and his co-defendant brother states Terry Ogden is going to testify against him, claiming Wayne Ogden forged Terry Ogden’s signature on all sorts of documents.

Separate trials are necessary because of issues related to cross-examination of a co-defendant, the motion states.

Also still pending are motions to ban the jury in May from hearing about Ogden’s 1998 fraud conviction in Weber County or his federal conviction last month, for which he faces sentencing June 19.

The defense is also asking that prosecutors not be allowed to call Ogden a felon or parole violator or similar terms, on grounds it would be “tenuous, irrelevant and prejudicial.”

The brothers had set up a credit counseling service in St. George for distressed mortgage holders in 2005.

At the coming trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges the company became a Ponzi scheme whose investors were bilked of millions of dollars

During the 2002 and 2005 irregularities charged, Ogden was still on parole for his 1998 conviction in Weber County on another real estate proposal that turned into a Ponzi.

Ogden pleaded guilty to those fraud charges in Ogden 2nd District Court.

He still owes more than $9 million in restitution to his estimated 500 victims, many of them his South Ogden friends and neighbors.

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