Megos rejects plea deal for suspended sentence

Norwich businessman Zane Megos, accused of taking deposits for apartments and houses that were not available, rejected a second plea offer Tuesday involving a suspended sentence on misdemeanor charges and payment of restitution to alleged victims.

Megos, who faces several larceny charges, some of them felonies, appeared before Judge Karen A. Goodrow in New London Superior Court Tuesday with his attorney, Kenneth Leary.

Leary said Megos maintains that the incidents should be regarded as civil matters and wishes to clear his name by going to trial.

In March, Megos rejected an initial plea offer that would have called for prison time.

The case will be placed on the trial list and scheduled for jury selection. However, Leary said he plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges.

Megos, 55, of 31 Dellwood Road, Norwich, has been charged by Norwich police in six separate cases for allegedly taking deposits and rent payments for apartments and houses in Norwich and New London that never became available.

He 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.

According to police warrants, the combined total involved $17,375 in rent deposits.

Prosecutor Rafael I. Bustamante told Goodrow Tuesday that he had discussions with Leary on an offer to reduce the charges to misdemeanors, with a suspended sentence and restitution to the alleged victims paid up front.

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 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.

Several cases were taken to civil 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 on complaints that Megos took deposits for apartments and houses in Norwich and New London that either he did not own or were condemned and unavailable at the time.

c.bessette@theday.com

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