MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WRBL) — A Montgomery attorney, sentenced on the charge of financial exploitation, agreed to pay $345,000 to his victim, an elderly military veteran.

According to Alabama’s Attorney General’s Office, John Warren Godwin, 39, pleaded guilty and was sentenced by the Montgomery County Circuit Court to a ten-year suspended sentence with five years’ probation.

Earlier on May 1, agents with the Attorney General’s Office arrested Godwin,

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.

That investigation revealed that Godwin was court-appointed in 2018 to represent D.N., an elderly veteran in need of emergency protective services who had no family to care for him.

Godwin admitted that he breached his fiduciary duty to D.N. by failing to pay property taxes on his home, which led to the property being sold to a third party at a tax sale.

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

As a condition of Godwin’s plea, he agreed to pay $345,000 in restitution to the victim (the value of the home lost in the tax sale), to permanently surrender his license with the Alabama State Bar, to disclaim any and all bequests, interests, inheritances, and duties from any and all last wills and testaments of the victim, and to pay all other court costs and fees.

In exchange for Godwin’s immediate cooperation, the State agreed to not bring any additional charges related to Godwin’s service as a guardian and conservator.