Man Used Loophole for a Free Hotel Stay for Five Years Until He Got Greedy

( – There are some wild stories out there about people who move into homes and never leave. Owners struggle to remove the squatters as the law is often on their side. In New York City, a saga has played out for five years, allowing a man who paid for a one-night stay in a famous hotel to live there rent-free for years due to a loophole. However, he decided to go too far and now finds himself facing serious legal repercussions.

According to a press release, Mickey Barreto, 48, moved to New York City from Los Angeles in June 2018 and booked a one-night stay at the New Yorker Hotel. He took advantage of a legal loophole in the city’s rent stabilization law and requested the hotel “enter into a lease agreement with him.” The establishment refused, which set off a legal battle. Eventually, Barreto won the right to stay in the hotel. A judge granted him possession of one specific room, where he has lived ever since.

However, during his stay at the New Yorker, Barreto has also allegedly filed false documents claiming to be the owner of the building. The first time he reportedly did it was in 2019. The indictment against him claims he uploaded a fraudulent deed to the New York City Department of Finance’s Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) that seemingly transferred ownership from the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity to him. That led to Barreto and the rightful owner to the New York County Supreme Court, where the real owner was successful in retaining the property. They also obtained an order prohibiting Barreto from claiming future ownership.

That didn’t stop Barreto, though, apparently. Twice in 2023, he allegedly filed additional documents in ACRIS, violating the order and again insisting he was the owner of the property. He also tried to demand rent from another tenant.

Barreto has now been arrested and is facing 24 criminal charges. Those include 10 counts of criminal contempt in the second degree, which is a misdemeanor, and 14 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a felony.

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