A man who swindled as much as $6 million from hundreds of investors in a real estate scam was sent to prison after an emotional hearing Monday in 2nd District Court.
A contrite Wayne Ogden was handcuffed and whisked away by bailiffs as members of his family openly wept in a sentencing hearing in which Ogden was ordered to spend at least two years, and as many as 30 years, in prison.Judge W. Brent West, after letting about 10 victims testify, told Ogden that in 11 years on the bench he had "never seen a case of such economic loss." Ogden's elaborate pyramid scheme, according to investigators, involved as many as 500 victims.
"This has almost cost me my marriage and my life," victim Barbara Harrington said. Harrington, who has children and is pregnant, said she was suicidal after she learned that Ogden had stolen the money she gave him after taking out a second mortgage on her home.
Ogden had been charged with 14 second-degree felony counts of theft by deception, money laundering, communications fraud and racketeering. He pleaded guilty to one count of each. Each carried a penalty of one-to-15 years in prison.
Ogden was contrite but maintained he never intended to hurt anyone. "I apologize to anyone my actions truly have hurt," Ogden said.
"Mostly," he said as he choked back tears. "I apologize to my children."
Teak Jones, another developer bilked by Jones, told the court that he doesn't believe any of Ogden's business dealings were legitimate and he urged West not to give Ogden probation. Some have suggested the judge let Ogden return to the community so he can make money to reimburse his victims.
"That would be like letting a bank robber go and telling him to go find money," Jones said.
West did order Ogden to pay restitution, but he can start doing it after he gets out of prison.