Norwich businessman Zane Megos and court officials Tuesday could not agree on a plea offer that would have included prison time, opting to send to trial several larceny charges related to Megos’ allegedly taking rental deposits for apartments and houses in Norwich and New London that were not available.
Megos appeared in court Tuesday with his attorney, Kenneth Leary, and met privately with Judge John J. Nazzaro to discuss the undisclosed plea deal.
After the private session during a court recess, Nazzaro said he regretted he was “unable to resolve” the issues.
“The state recommends incarceration,” Nazzaro said. “I don’t think that will solve anything.”
Megos is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in New London Superior Court on April 2.
Leary said his client believes the cases should be considered civil matters rather than criminal larcenies, and that the delays in having the apartments available were not his fault. He said Megos has obtained certificates of occupancy for all the buildings in question. Last week, Norwich inspectors issued a certificate of occupancy for one of the properties, an apartment house at 75 Fourth St.
Nazzaro said he has reviewed a statement made by Megos and agreed there were “defenses” that could be put forward in the case. But he added that he also understands the state’s position that there are several victims who “are out of pocket.”
Nazzaro in December had asked for a restitution study to enumerate the deposits that could be owed to the alleged victims.
Megos, 55, of 31 Dellwood Road, Norwich, was charged by Norwich police in six separate cases after The Day conducted an investigation last spring into numerous complaints that Megos was taking cash security deposits and advanced rent payments for apartments in Norwich and New London that either were condemned or not owned by Megos or his companies.
According to police warrants, the combined total involved $17,375 in rent deposits.
Megos faces one count of second-degree larceny, two counts of third-degree larceny and three counts of fourth-degree larceny by Norwich police in separate cases. Megos also faces third-degree assault and breach of peace charges by Norwich police stemming from an altercation with one of the alleged larceny victims who had confronted Megos to ask for his deposit money back.
In an unrelated case, Norwich police charged Megos Sept. 19 with evading responsibility, driving an unregistered motor vehicle, driving without minimum insurance and failure to drive right.
The Day’s investigation found several cases had been taken to Small Claims court, where the plaintiffs won judgments that were never paid. Others sought criminal charges and at first were told by police departments that the cases were civil matters. Norwich police arrested Megos in June and in August.