May 19, 2010 at 11:52 am

Faux prince arrested in New York on Michigan deadbeat charges

Josef Meyers )

A man who posed as an Austrian prince but is accused of being one of Michigan's worst deadbeat dads has been arrested in New York City, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The U.S. Marshals Service, executing a warrant from Oakland County, found Josef Meyers, 50, hiding Monday in a bedroom closet in a New York home, said Kevin Pettit, a spokesman for the service in Detroit.

Meyers, also known as the Austrian Prince Josef Franz Prach von Habsburg-Lothringen, was sought by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and county prosecutors on a 2009 warrant alleging failure to pay $250,000 in child support. Detectives from Oakland County worked with the marshals' service on the case.

Pettit said Meyers is expected to be sent to Michigan to face charges in three to four weeks.

Meyers, who has children and a wife he never divorced in Michigan, was found in New York with another wife, Michelle Trico, and three other children, officials said.

His history includes a stint in the former Clinton Valley Center psychiatric hospital in Pontiac in his early 20s after an attack on his mother, an arrest in a major Livonia cocaine bust for which he was not convicted, a conviction for check kiting, and a lengthy period as a paid FBI informant, according to court records.

He legally changed his name to the regal Austrian name von Habsburg about 20 years ago, despite a law prohibiting a felon from changing his name.

An attorney for Meyers did not return a phone call Tuesday.

"The community at large is much safer with him off the street," said Steven Rambam, a New York City private detective who has pursued Meyers.

Bob Kowalkowski, a private investigator in Farmington Hills, said Oakland County prosecutors and detectives "did a fantastic job of working with the U.S. Marshals to locate this guy."

Charlie LeDuff contributed. pegan@detnews.com">pegan@detnews.com