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James Arthur Hogue
Born October 22, 1959 (1959-10-22) (age 50)
Kansas City, Kansas
Occupation Con man

James Arthur Hogue (born October 22, 1959) is a US impostor who most famously entered Princeton University by posing as a self-taught orphan.


Early life

Hogue was born in Kansas City, Kansas and spent his youth there. He attended Washington High School where he set the school records in track for the 1 mile (4:18.4) and 2 mile (9:20.4) in 1977; records that still stand to this day. He has refused to talk about much of his childhood.

Starting his criminal career

In 1986, Hogue enrolled in a Palo Alto, California high school as Jay Mitchell Huntsman, a 16-year-old orphan from Nevada. He had adopted the identity of a dead infant. A suspicious local reporter exposed him.[1]

He next enrolled at Princeton University in 1988 using the alias Alexi Indris Santana, a self-taught orphan from Utah. He deferred admission for one year because he had been convicted of the theft of bicycle frames in Utah. Hogue claimed in his application materials that he had slept outside in the Grand Canyon, raising sheep and reading philosophers. He violated his parole to enter class. For the next two years he lived as Santana; at Princeton, he was a member of the track team and was admitted into the Ivy Club. [2] His real identity was exposed when Renee Pacheco, a student from Palo Alto High School, recognized him. He was arrested in 1991 for defrauding the university for $30,000 in financial aid and sentenced to three years in jail with 5 years probation and 100 hours of community service[3].

Hogue next made headlines on May 16, 1993, through his association with Harvard University. Having lied about his identity again, he was able to take a job as a security guard in one of Harvard's on-campus museums. A few months into his tenure, museum officials noticed that several gemstones on exhibit had been replaced with inexpensive fakes. Somerville police seized Hogue in his home and charged him with grand larceny in the amount of $50,000. [4]

Hogue violated the conditions of his parole by returning to Princeton and hanging around the campus using the name Jim MacAuthor. He had not officially enrolled but had attended social functions and eaten in the cafeteria. When a graduate student recognized him he was arrested on February 19, 1996 and was given to the custody of Princeton Borough Police who later released him on his own recognizance. He was later incarcerated in the Mercer County Correctional Center and was tried for defiant trespass. Hogue was released from prison 1997 and vanished from the public eye. In 1999, Jesse Moss, a director making a documentary film about Hogue, tracked him down in Aspen, Colorado and secured his cooperation in making the film. The completed documentary, entitled Con Man, was released in 2003.

In January 2005 police with a warrant to search Hogue's home in San Miguel County, Colorado, found 7,000 stolen items, worth over $100,000, stolen from nearby homes where Hogue had worked as a remodeller and repairman. The stolen goods "packed his house and a small secret compartment he'd built." [5] He was apprehended in Tucson, Arizona on February 4, 2006 by United States Marshal Richard J. Tracy Jr. [6][7] and deputies from the Pima County, Arizona Sheriff's department while Hogue was sitting in a Barnes & Noble cafe surfing the internet.

On March 12, 2007 Hogue pled guilty to theft, in return for limiting his sentence and dropping additional charges.[8]


  1. ^ The con artist next door, Denver Post, March 26, 2006.
  2. ^ David Samuels, "The Runner", The New Yorker, September 3, 2001, p. 72-85
  3. ^ Superville, Darlene (February 28, 1991). "PRINCETON BOOTS RUNNER, A FAKE WHO`S 31". San Jose Mercury News. pp. Page 1B.  
  4. ^ "Bogus Princeton Student Held in New Crime" New York Times, May 16, 1993
  5. ^ Con artist James Hogue pleads guilty to theft Telluride Daily Planet, Thursday, March 22, 2007.
  6. ^ Fugitive "Con Man" from Colorado Nabbed in Tucson, United States Marshals Service, February 4, 2006
  7. ^ Suspect in thefts near Telluride has led life of cons, Aspen Times News, February 8, 2006.
  8. ^ Hogue pleads guilty to felony theft charge, Denver Post, March 13, 2007.


  • Samuels, David The Runner A True Account of the Amazing Lies and Fantastical Adventures of the Ivy League Impostor James Hogue.

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