Norwich businessman Zane Megos, accused of taking deposits for apartments and houses that were not available, was offered a plea deal Wednesday that would reduce all charges to misdemeanors.
Megos, 56, of 31 Dellwood Road, Norwich, will have to decide at his next court date on Nov. 20 whether to accept the plea offer or seek a trial on the six larceny charges and assault and breach of peace charges related to one of the incidents.
Judge Hillary B. Strackbein told Megos Wednesday he would face a possible sentence of up to 23 years in prison if found guilty on all charges. Strackbein said Megos was not eligible for accelerated rehabilitation because of a guilty plea in a 1983 first-degree larceny charge involving theft of insurance premiums.
Strackbein did not specify terms of the plea offer, including whether Megos would be asked to pay restitution, except to say that all charges in the cases involving housing deposits would be reduced to misdemeanors. Prosecutor Rafael I. Bustamonte declined to comment, saying it is still a pending case.
Megos declined to comment after his court appearance.
Megos was charged in June and August 2012 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, a Class C felony, carrying a prison sentence of one to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000; two counts of third-degree larceny, a Class D felony, carrying a sentence of one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000; and three counts of fourth-degree larceny, a misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
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.
Last December, New London Superior Court Judge John J. Nazzaro ordered a restitution study to determine the amounts allegedly owed to the victims. In the study, court officials confirmed deposits made by seven victims totaling $18,935.
In the study, Megos stated he intends to "vigorously defend himself and prevail, but should court order restitution he believes the bond money will cover restitution 100 percent."
In August, 2012 Megos paid a $15,000 bond to the court that was stated to be used for restitution.