Norwich businessman Zane R. Megos is expected to spend the weekend in jail after city police served him Friday with five arrest warrants following an investigation into his alleged fraudulent practices as a landlord.
Megos, 55, of Dellwood Road, Norwich, has been charged with second-degree larceny and third-degree larceny, which are felonies, and three counts of fourth-degree larceny, a misdemeanor. He is being held in lieu of $16,000 cash bond and is expected to be arraigned Monday in Norwich Superior Court.
The arrest occurred less than two months after The Day published a series of articles on Megos' business practices. More than a dozen people said they gave cash deposits to Megos to rent apartments or to purchase houses in Norwich and New London that never became available.
Some of the apartments were in condemned buildings owned by Megos. In other instances, he allegedly told potential renters and buyers that he was representing the owners.
Norwich police Detective Sgt. James Tetreault said Detective Darren Powers conducted a nine-month investigation and determined Megos was advertising condemned properties on craigslist and accepting deposits and partial rent payments while renovations were being completed. The victims complained they never moved into the properties and Megos failed to reimburse them the security deposits and rent payments. Police investigated more than 10 complaints and said many were settled without any criminal charges being filed.
The case is expected to be transferred to New London Superior Court, where it will be prosecuted by Rafael Bustamante, an assistant state's attorney experienced in housing matters. New London attorney Kenneth A. Leary, who has represented Megos in other cases, said he would be representing him at least for his initial court appearance.
"I think it's regretful that he was arrested Friday night and held over the weekend," Leary said. He had no other comment.
Megos is also under investigation by the state Department of Consumer Protection. Richard E. Maloney, DCP's director of trade practices, said recently that the agency is investigating him under state law governing real estate brokers and salespeople.
The agency had a long record of complaints about Megos dating back to 1983, when he first became active in real estate in the Norwich-New London area. The file ended, however, when Megos voluntarily surrendered his real estate license in 2006 after a complaint that he had forged a property owner's name on sales documents.
Megos has a pending assault case in Norwich Superior Court stemming from a March 24 altercation with two cousins who confronted him in an attempt to get deposit money back for an apartment at 75 Fourth St. in Greeneville that was condemned. He has pleaded not guilty to breach of peace and third-degree assault and is due back in court for that case on June 29.
Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service has filed a tax lien against him for more than $88,000 in unpaid federal income taxes.
Anna Shatzer, who with her roommate had paid deposits on a condemned apartment at 25 Rogers Ave., said she is still trying to collect a $3,392 judgment she won against Megos in small claims court.
"I don't think I'm ever going to get my money back from him, but I'm just excited that karma has come around," Shatzer said after hearing of his arrest.