Judge orders Zane Megos: Don’t collect any rent

Judge Kevin McMahon ordered Norwich businessman Zane Megos not to collect any rent money as a condition of his order lowering Megos' bond, Friday in New London Superior Court.

McMahon lowered the bond to $2,000 on five larceny charges stemming from allegations that Megos took deposits and rent money for apartments that were condemned. The judge said he expects additional charges to be filed against Megos.

Norwich police arrested Megos, 55, of 31Dellwood Road, Norwich, on June 22 on charges of second-degree larceny, third-degree larceny and three counts of fourth-degree larceny. He was held on cash bonds totaling $16,000 and had remained in jail since his arrest.

On Friday evening, Megos was awaiting release from custody on those charges. He previously had been released on a $2,500 bond in connection with a March 24 charge of third-degree assault and breach of peace after one alleged victim confronted him to ask for his deposit money back.

Megos told McMahon Friday that he expects to complete sales of three buildings in Norwich within the next 45 days and then will have enough money to reimburse the alleged victims.

Attorney Kenneth Leary, representing Megos on the bail issue Friday, said Megos had $1,017 in his possession when he was arrested by Norwich police and asked that it be used for his bond release. His wife, Bonnie Megos, received the money and was working with Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center late Friday to pay the bond and obtain her husband's release, Leary said.

Leary declined to identify the Norwich buildings Megos plans to sell.

New London police confirmed Thursday that they are investigating a complaint against Megos. No charges have been filed in that case.

An investigation by The Day discovered more than a dozen would-be tenants who had given Megos deposits and advance rent money for apartments, mostly in Norwich and New London. In those cases, Mego did not own the buildings or they were owned by his companies but had been condemned.

Tenants described a pattern in which Megos would meet them in a local doughnut shop parking lot and accept the deposits, giving them paper receipts, but later would tell them renovations were delayed for various reasons. When they attempted to obtain refunds, Megos either refused or failed to return calls or to show up for scheduled meetings.

In the latest New London incident, Sofia Torres, 35, of New London said she called Norwich police initially after reading of Megos' arrest and a detective there referred her to New London police, with whom she filed a complaint.

Torres said Megos showed her a house at 77 Blackhall St., New London, in January 2011, and she gave him a $3,400 deposit on a rent-to-own arrangement. Later, she said, Megos told her the house wasn't ready by the promised March 1 date, but would be ready March 15, at which time she was to give him the remaining $500 on the deposit.

When it wasn't ready on March 15, she refused to pay the final installment and asked for her money back. Torres confronted Megos for a refund and he refused and "drove off," she said.

"I haven't heard from him since," Torres said.

The house was to have been for herself, her father, her boyfriend and her three children, The entire family ended up homeless from March until July, she said. Her father stayed in New York, her teenage children with friends, and she and her boyfriend and the baby, then 2, in hotels and with friends in New Britain.

She said she saw called Prudential Real Estate after seeing a "for sale" sign on the lawn at 77 Blackhall St. The person on the phone told her that the house was for sale, not for rent. The person had never heard of Megos.

Megos is due back in court Aug. 17.

c.bessette@theday.com

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