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Press Release

Pennsylvania Man Convicted At Trial of Filing Retaliatory Liens Against Multiple Public Officials Is Sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Clarence Hoffert, 58, who was convicted by a federal jury of filing false retaliatory liens against federal officers and employees, was sentenced to serve 48 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Christopher C. Conner, U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. This sentence will be served consecutive to a 32 year sentence the defendant is currently serving for statutory rape in PA.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wei Xiang and Jonathan P. Cantil, from the Western District of New York, who handled the prosecution of the case at trial, stated that in August of 2017, the defendant declared a state of “Domestic Mixed War” in a “Claim of Commercial Lien Affidavit” that he filed in Erie, PA, against seven public officials. The seven alleged lien debtors included three federal judges, two members of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division’s Torts Branch, and two officials of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Hoffert, an inmate at State Correctional Institution in Albion, declared that the seven public officials owed him $56,000,000. In his claim, the defendant stated that each official had committed 32 different crimes, at $250,000 in damages per crime, thereby making each alleged lien debtor accountable for payment of $8,000,000.

The course of events started in 2013 when Hoffert brought a civil action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, relating to his imprisonment on a state conviction. The magistrate judge assigned to the case recommended dismissal of Hoffert’s complaint, and the district judge assigned to the case adopted the recommendation. A panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court. Following his failed appeal, Hoffert filed an administrative claim for damages with the Torts Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division in Washington, DC. The Torts Branch denied the claim. The defendant responded to the denial with a letter threatening to add the Torts Branch to his tort claim. The Torts Branch replied with another copy of the denial letter. As a result of this series of denials, the defendant attempted to file the lien in retaliation against the two signors of the Torts Branch letters, along with the aforementioned magistrate judge, district judge, and a member of the circuit panel.

In reaching a guilty verdict, jurors determined that the attempted lien filed by the defendant was false and that Hoffert knew, or had reason to know, that material information included in the attempted lien was in fact false.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania was recused from the case, and as a result, it was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York.

Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Marshal Service, Western District of Pennsylvania.  

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Updated March 18, 2019