James Hogue: Con Men in History

Alexi Indris-Santana quickly won over the Princeton admissions officials with tales of his Thoreau-esque upbringing as a brillant self-taught Utah ranch hand who slept under the stars with his horse, Good Enough. The admissions committee even offered Indris-Santana $40,000 in financial aid to help with tuition costs.

Although Indris-Santana was accepted into Princeton for the 1988-1989 school year, he had to postpone his enrollment for a year to take care of his “dying mother.”

Once on campus Indris-Santana continued to impress with his academics and athletics. Even with a heavy load of six or seven classes a semester, Indris-Santana managed to earn mostly A’s. He was also quickly labeled as Princeton’s up and coming track star.

However, it was Indris-Santana’s notoriety on the track field that would be his undoing. At a Princeton-Yale-Harvard track meet in 1991 Indris-Santana was recognized by a Yale senior as 26 year-old Jay Huntsman who had been caught pretending to be a 17 year-old high school senior at her alma mater, Palo Alto, in California.

Upon investigation it became clear that neither Alexi Indris-Santana nor Jay Huntsman existed, both were aliases for the then 31-year-old James Hogue from Kansas City, Kansas.

Although Hogue’s most famous con is certainly the time he spent at Princeton under a false identity, it was certainly not his first con. After Hogue was confronted about his fake identity at Palo Alto, Hogue took off for Vail, Colorado where he got a job as a cross-trainer by claiming that he had a doctorate from Stanford. Hogue worked alongside world-class athletes such as the Olympic marathoner, Frank shorter. Hogue’s time in Vail ended when a runner tipped off Hogue’s boss.

Hogue then found a temporary job working for David Tesch, a bicycle builder. Shortly after Hogue left, Tesch reported a theft of $20,000 worth of parts and tools. Hogue was questioned, but never arrested for the theft.

Over a year later Hogue was caught repairing bicycles using tools engraved with Tesch’s name in St. George, Utah. Hogue was then arrested for possession of stolen property and served 10 months before being released on parole, which forced him to put off attending Princeton for a year. Of course, he told Princeton that he was caring for “dying mother.” Hogue then skipped parole to attend Princeton, and a warrant was put out for his arrest. It was this warrant for his arrest that would end his stint at Princeton.

Once Hogue’s fraud was discovered he was arrested and charged with wrongful impersonation, forgery and falsifying records. He ended up serving a total of nine months in prison and had to pay back the $22,000 he had used in financial aid. This was not Hogue’s last con, and it may not be his last. Currently he is serving a 10-year sentence from stealing over $100,000 worth in property from Colorado home owners.

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