Man Living Like an "Austrian Prince" in Soho Is Actually a Deadbeat Dad With a Rap Sheet

joem.jpg
via Detroit News
Assuming the identity of "Prince Josef von Habsburg-Lothringen of Austria," a name that sounds as fake as the color of his gelled, frosted-tipped hair, a Michigan con artist pulled off an elaborate scam for years with a Soho apartment grand enough to match his bogus name. What's worse is that the FBI supported his extravagant guise -- he worked as an informant for many years.

Before the man, whose actual name is Josef Meyers, embarked on this odd-ball Quixotic life in New York, he had a wife and children in Michigan to whom he has neglected to pay child support. This is where he got himself into trouble -- authorities nabbed him for owing more than $200,000. He never even divorced his Michigan wife before moving to New York, remarrying, and starting a new family here. The best part about the Post's article on this crazy man are the extra-special insane details:

"Sometimes he would even wear a cordless hair dryer on his belt like it was a gun," a source close to the family said.

Meyer was "a former mental patient who was once committed to a psych ward in Pontiac, Mich."

He "had attacked his mother at age 21 and was arrested in a 1987 drug raid, where police confiscated 2 kilos of cocaine and an automatic weapon, according to the Detroit News."

A mother-attacking former mental patient with a made-up name fit for a movie script who carries a blowdryer like a gun was an FBI informant? Maybe we're just naive, but don't you have to be a semi-stable semi-trustworthy person to do that job? And the FBI paid him enough for all of this:

"He was dressed up all of the time, even the hottest days. His shirts were all very special. Everything he had was custom-made," said David Sun, who owns Soho Dry Cleaning, where the family took their washing.

"It was so bizarre. Their apartment was full of chandeliers and Chinese antiques. It was always cool to be in there because you felt like you were in a Habsburg's apartment."

What? This guy's an FBI informant; he gets away with this crazy scheme; and then he's busted for not paying child support? Are we being punked by the Post?

[LM]

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