GUNNISON -- A convicted real estate scam artist promised during a parole hearing that he would pay back all of the estimated 500 victims of his scheme.

"I have absolutely a 100 percent belief that I can repay everyone," a teary-eyed Wayne Ogden said last week. "I promised people they would not lose money. I intend to fulfill that promise no matter what it takes, no matter how much time and effort is necessary."Board of Pardons member Cheryl Hansen on Tuesday took the matter under advisement, saying the full board will issue a decision in a month. Officials have said it is unlikely Ogden will get an early release because of the number of victims and money involved.

Ogden was sentenced in July to up to 30 years in prison for an 18-month scam that investigators say may have cost some 500 victims between $6 million and $8 million.

He was operating a Ponzi scheme in which he used funds from new investors to repay earlier participants.

During the hearing, Ogden said that he would make restitution from real estate commissions. He said that an unnamed developer has agreed to hire him when he is released from prison.

"In June (of '97) I made $30,000 in home sales commissions," he said. "I can't make $30,000 my first month out of prison, but I can be making that much within six months. I can do it. I've done it before. I can do it again."

Rumors have persisted since the scandal broke that as many as 20 people helped orchestrate the scam, although no one else has been charged.

Ogden offered no other names but said other people were also responsible,

"Many of them lied to others and took their money without having anything to do with me. . . . I am responsible for them too, even though they were never totally under my reins.

"I touched all the money, it all eventually came through me, except for what they took off the top, if you will," Ogden said.

Four victims showed up to speak at the hearing, two of them defended Ogden.

"Wayne is not a criminal. I don't think he deserves to be here," said Josh Christensen, who lost $250,000 to Ogden and is suing Coldwell Banker, alleging the company had a role in Ogden's scheme.

Ogden made many people a great deal of money and they wanted more, Christensen said.

"I am probably the only person who will," Christensen said. "But I would like to ask you, Wayne, to forgive me."

Ogden also said he never intended to hurt anyone but instead "tried so very hard to make so many people wealthy, to have a good life. Then toward the end, for a year, I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. There was no way, no how, to control it."

Afterward, Robert Carter, another victim, said Ogden's comments were "the same pitch he gave us to get our money in the first place."