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Norwich businessman Zane Megos pleaded guilty to six fourth-degree larceny charges in a plea deal today that allowed him to avoid prison time for incidents in which he took deposit money for apartments and houses that never became available.
Megos, 57, of 31 Dellwood Road, Norwich received six one-year suspended sentences and three years of probation and must make full restitution to the victims. He also must agree to any counseling ordered by his probation officer.
In the plea deal reached two days before jury selection was scheduled to start, Megos pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine, under which he does not admit to the state's allegations but agrees the state has sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction at trial.
In the plea, the state reduced one second-degree larceny charge and two third-degree larceny charges to fourth-degree larceny, a misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. Megos pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine to those charges and three other fourth-degree larceny charges.
Assistant State's Attorney Raphael Bustamante agreed not to prosecute related charges of third-degree assault and violation of a court order.
Megos was arrested by Norwich police in June and August 2012 on the larceny charges and again in November 2013 on the charge of violating the court's order that he not take new deposits for apartments.
The Day published a series of stories in May 2012 on Megos' practice of taking numerous deposits for apartments in condemned buildings and for apartments and houses that he did not own in Norwich and New London.
Attorney Kenneth Leary, representing Megos, said his client continues to maintain that the charges should have been handled as civil matters rather than criminal arrests.
Judge Hillary B. Strackbein ordered that Megos make full restitution to the victims, using the $27,000 in court-ordered cash bonds Megos had posted in connection with the arrests. Strackbein said any money remaining from the bonds after restitution and paying Megos' $215 court fee could be returned to him.
A restitution study ordered by the court in December 2012, confirmed deposits made by seven victims totaling $18,935.
Leary said Megos did not admit to the allegations, but felt he faced "a substantial risk" if the cases had gone to trial.
Strackbein said regardless of Megos' claim that the cases should have been treated as civil matters, "these are violations of the law."