Man Who Claimed He Owned New Yorker Hotel Deemed a Fraudster, Indicted by DA

Mickey Barreto, 48, was indicted on February 14th after a long, turbulent relationship with the hotel in which he claimed to be the true owner and tired to evict the rightful owner by filing false records with the agency that records city real estate transactions. He faces a 14 count indictment for filing false records.

| 15 Feb 2024 | 06:13

An alleged con man who moved into a room at The New Yorker Hotel and then later claimed to be the owner who tried to collect rent has been indicted.

Mickey Barreto faces a 14 count indictment for filing false records with the city, according to prosecutors. Located near Penn Station, the New Yorker Hotel features one of the city’s most iconic signages. In June of 2018, Barreto booked a room at the prominent landmark. This began a long dispute between him and the hotel, prompted by his false claim that he was the true owner. His indictment was on February 14th.

When Barreto first booked the room nearly six years ago, he requested that the hotel enter into a lease agreement with him in accordance with New York’s rent stabilization law, which helped to combat the city’s housing crisis.

After the hotel declined his request, he stored all of his belongings in his room and then left. The New Yorker returned everything left in the room to Barreto and asked that he leave the hotel. Barreto then filed a lawsuit alleging that he was unjustly evicted from the hotel. The judge then granted him ownership of one specific room for one year.

Almost a year later, Barreto began to upload documents including a fake deed which transferred the ownership of the New Yorker from the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, a South Korean religious organization (HSA) to himself, prosecutors charged. These documents were uploaded to ACRIS, the New York City Department of Finance’s Automated City Register Information System in which he claimed to have purchased the hotel for $400 million via the Mickey Barreto Missions on a deed that was recorded on Sept. 20, 2023.

After recording the fraudulent documents, Barreto began to act as the owner of the New Yorker.

He ordered tenants to pay him rent, demanded that the hotel’s bank accounts be transferred to him, and even registered for sewage and water payments from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection under his own name. Barreto insisted that the HSA withdraw from the hotel and send him all payments from the hotel’s tenants.

The HSA filed a successful lawsuit in the New York County Supreme Court against Barreto, prohibiting him from making any future filings or claims to be the owner of the hotel. Barreto’s attempt to appeal the decision was unsuccessful. Despite the failure of his appeal, he continued to file documents onto ACRIS in April and September of 2023, one of which was an additional attempt to transfer the hotel to his name. The deed claiming that the hotel was sold to Mickey Barreto Missions for $400 million was recorded on Sept. 20, 2023. But the deed was terminated nine days later and the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of Christianity was once again listed as the owner. There were a series of recent ownership changes listed on the city’s real estate records which said that the Holy Spirit Association assigned the mortgage to YS 481 Eighth Holdings LLC as of Jan. 8, 2024, but no further information on that organization was available.

“As alleged, Mickey Barreto repeatedly and fraudulently claimed ownership of one of the City’s most iconic landmarks, the New Yorker hotel,” said District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr, “we will not tolerate manipulation of our city’s property records by those who seek to scam the system for personal gain.”

Barreto was charged with fourteen counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and ten counts of Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree.

He defended himself to the New York Post in 2019, stating that he “never committed any fraud.”

Barreto’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 1st and he will be represented by attorney Brian Hutchinson. Hutchinson had not responded to emails at press time.

“We will not tolerate manipulation of our city’s property records by those who seek to scam the system for personal gain.” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg