NYC Man Arrested for Exploiting Housing Law: Lived Rent Free for 5 Years

Mickey Barreto, a New York City man, faces charges of filing false property records after attempting to claim ownership of the entire New Yorker Hotel building. Barreto, who exploited a housing law to live rent-free in the hotel, was arrested and charged with fraud and criminal contempt.

According to AP News, Barreto and his boyfriend paid $200 to rent a room in the historic hotel, taking advantage of a loophole allowing occupants to demand a six-month lease for single rooms in pre-1969 buildings. After a legal battle, Barreto secured "possession" of his room.

However, in 2019, he uploaded a fake deed to a city website, falsely transferring ownership of the entire building to himself. Barreto attempted various actions as the supposed owner, including demanding rent from other tenants and registering the hotel under his name for utility payments.

Manhattan prosecutors acknowledge Barreto's housing court victory but argue he went beyond by fraudulently claiming ownership of the iconic landmark. The ongoing civil case, initiated by the Unification Church, challenges Barreto's false ownership claim. Barreto contends his actions are activism aimed at denying profits to the Unification Church, known for its controversial practices.

Barreto faces criminal charges for his attempt to manipulate property records, marking the latest chapter in his years-long legal saga.

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