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AG announces conviction of former politico for elderly exploitation

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – J.W. Godwin, a Montgomery attorney and former Alabama political staffer, has been convicted of financial exploitation of the elderly, Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office announced Monday.
Godwin, 39, was accused of misuse of his position as a guardian and conservator for an elderly military veteran in need of immediate and long-term care, according to a release from Marshall’s office.
Marshall personally recused himself from the case due to Godwin’s ongoing business dealings with former Attorney General Troy King, for whom Godwin worked as a top political staffer in the 2000s.
According to Marshall’s office, it opened an investigation into Godwin’s conduct in June 2022 after receiving information from a local bank about suspicious transactions from the victim’s accounts. That investigation revealed that Godwin was court-appointed in 2018 to represent an elderly military veteran in need of emergency protective services who had no family to care for him.

In a plea agreement, Godwin admitted he recklessly breached his fiduciary duty by failing to pay property taxes on the victim’s home. That led to the victim’s 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 time period of three years. The victim’s home was permanently lost, according to Marshall’s office.

Godwin was sentenced in Montgomery County Circuit Court to a ten-year suspended sentence with five years’ probation. In his plea agreement, Godwin agreed to pay $345,000 in restitution to the victim and permanently surrender his license with the Alabama State Bar.

Photo: DXR, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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