A man calling himself the “Wolf of Airbnb” has been arrested by federal prosecutors after illegally subleasing more than a dozen Manhattan apartments – earning more than $1 million in proceeds, all even while refusing to pay rent.
On Thursday, authorities said Florida resident Konrad Bicher, 31, was unable to pay her landlord because of the pandemic despite fraudulently raising more than $565,000 in COVID-19 relief funds. New York Post report.
Bicher raised over $565k in PPP funds, $1.1m from units despite not paying owners $1m or more in rent
Bicher has listed these units on sites like Airbnb and promoted them as “small hotels,” according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams.
“Bicher abused Government programs and tenant protections to benefit New Yorkers in crisis and he will have to answer for his conduct,” Williams said. in a statement.
Pro tip: If you’re doing business with someone who calls himself the “Wolf of Airbnb,” things aren’t going to go well.
We have all seen the movie. https://t.co/UxjG3G0fnK pic.twitter.com/OvD3ENXE65
– Diligentia Group (@DiligentiaGroup) October 28, 2022
Bicher and several unnamed associates are said to have rented at least 18 properties in Manhattan in February 2019 – listing them as short-term rentals – in direct violation of New York City contract and law, prosecutors allege.
Bicher even illegally rented accommodation units to film crews for $97 an hour, while blaming the pandemic for not being able to meet the terms of his lease.
When the lease expires, he will also refuse to leave and even continue to sublet the apartments – all of which are not expressly allowed under the lease.
“Wolf Of Airbnb” even sub-rents illegal units, even to film crews for $97 an hour, prosecutors claim
According to prosecutors, between 2019 and April 2022, he failed to pay $1 million worth of rent on the properties, despite earning more than $1.1 million in rental income. sublease the homes, according to prosecutors.
City law prohibits providing equivalent apartments for rent for less than 30 days – essentially the definition of subletting.
“Wolf of Airbnb” charges a short-term rental plan https://t.co/oLfXuXE4wv pic.twitter.com/FZ2iiioLGs
– LUIS SUÁREZ | NYC Real Estate (@LuisSuarezNY) October 28, 2022
Prosecutors said that in spring 2021, Bicher applied four times to the federal Payment Protection Program (PPP) and fraudulently obtained $565.00 in relief funds.
“Wolf” leads a lavish lifestyle, taking pictures of him on a private jet on social media
Bicher also leads a lavish lifestyle, photographing private jets and posting pictures to his social media accounts. He told Real Deal in February that he came up with the nickname “Wolf of Airbnb” because it means “someone hungry and ruthless enough to get on top of the financial ladder.”
“They compare the ferocity of a wolf, because wolves are territorial, ferocious and show no mercy when provoked,” he told him in a text.
A landlord filed a lawsuit against Bicher earlier this year claiming he had illegally subletted a luxury apartment and 450 W. 42nd Street, a luxury building with a doorman at the front entrance .
“Wolf of Airbnb” indicted in connection with New York City landlord fraud conspiracy and PPP fraudhttps://t.co/5YWwO7DZg9
– US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) October 27, 2022
The doorman reported having noticed random people coming and going with suitcases and camera gear from the unit.
Authorities said Bicher offered the property for sale for $97 per hour on Peerspace, the Post reported.
“Wolf” Even asked the landlord to pay for HIM to leave, “Otherwise (he would) sue and keep the apartment for years”
Bicher allegedly even responded to a shutdown notice that read, “Can we make a settlement to pay me to leave?” If not, I will keep the unit for years and sue.”
He was charged with two counts of federal fraud and aggravated identity theft, and faces 42 years in prison if convicted, according to the Post.
One Facebook the account that appears to be Bicher’s says his occupation is real estate, while Facebook The account says he’s a travel agent, both listing New York as locations.