A Montgomery attorney was sentenced to five years probation after pleading guilty to financial exploitation of the elderly.

John Warren (J.W.) Godwin, 39, will also pay restitution and surrender his license with the Alabama State Bar as part of a plea deal.

The Alabama Attorney General’s office said Godwin pleaded guilty to charges in connection with an elderly military veteran who was in need of long-term care. However, Attorney General Steve Marshall recused himself from the investigation due to “Godwin’s business association with former Attorney General Troy King.” Acting AG Jill Lee took on the case.

Prosecutors said Godwin was the guardian and conservator of the veteran, who was only identified as “D.N.”

“The Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation into Godwin’s conduct in June 2022 after receiving information from a local bank that identified suspicious transactions from the victim’s accounts,” the AG’s office stated in a press release. “That investigation revealed that Godwin was court-appointed in 2018 to represent D.N., an elderly military veteran in need of emergency protective services who had no family to care for him.”

Godwin didn’t pay property taxes on the victim’s home, and because of that, the home was sold in a tax sale.

“Godwin further breached his duty by recklessly failing to redeem that property within the statutory time period of three years,” the AG’s office explained. “Because of his failure to reclaim the property, D.N.’s home was permanently lost.”

Godwin was given a 10-year suspended sentence, five years probation and must pay $345,000 in restitution. Prosecutors said because he cooperated in the case, no more charges would be filed against Godwin.

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