Identity Thief Scams SF Hotels Out Of Thousands Of Dollars

A known identity thief was arrested again this week for impersonating business executives to stay at pricey San Francisco hotels, prosecutors said today.

Duane Allen Hoffman, 51, was arrested on Saturday and scheduled for arraignment today on three felony counts of identity theft, three felony counts of defrauding an innkeeper and a count of falsely identifying himself to police, district attorney’s office spokesman Alex Bastian said.

Hoffman, who has a previous conviction for identity theft, scammed Hotel Nikko, Omni San Francisco and the Hyatt Regency hotels between Nov. 2 and 11 by coming up with phony stories for why he did not have identification or credit cards, according to court records.

In one case, Hoffman pretended to be a corporate executive at a Fortune 500 company and claimed his wife was gravely ill at Stanford Hospital, while in another case he used hotel reward points in the account of the CEO of a large New York-based corporation, according to court records.

In the third case, Hoffman allegedly claimed he was the victim of a robbery and was allowed to stay at the hotel.
He allegedly rang up between $2,287 and $10,000 in lodging, room service and restaurant fare at the three hotels, according to court records.

Hoffman has a colorful history in San Francisco.

Prior to his 2010 sentencing in a previous identity theft case, Hoffman sued then-Sheriff Michael Hennessey in federal court, alleging religious discrimination because sheriff’s deputies took away his yarmulke in jail.

In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Hoffman said he was a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant seriously injured in the U.S. embassy bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, and was paralyzed and in a wheelchair as a result.

According to Bastian, Hoffman was not in a wheelchair when he was arrested this week, nor was he using one at the time of the alleged crimes.

The discrimination case was later dismissed from court.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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