Infamous impostor could wind up back in prison after latest scheme

A notorious con artist who previously posed as a high school student 10 years his junior, lied his way into Princeton on a track scholarship and was arrested for stealing $50,000 worth of jewels from a Harvard museum pleaded guilty last week to a pair of felonies that could send him back to prison.

James Hogue, 57, could receive between one and three years in prison when he’s sentenced next month, The Aspen Times reported.

The most recent charges come after Hogue in September was found living in an illegal shack on a Colorado mountain. When police knocked on the door of the cabin, Hogue slipped out a window and evaded authorities for two months. But investigators eventually caught up with him, tracking down his SUV, which was filled with stolen ski jackets, ski pants, $17,000 in cash and records showing eBay sales, according to The Aspen Times.

But should Hogue wind up in the slammer, it would be familiar territory for a man who has made a life out of pretending to be other people.

He has served numerous prison sentences, but gained infamy due to his impersonations, even making a list of Time magazine’s “Top 10 Imposters.”

As a youthful looking 26-year-old, Hogue pretended to be a 16-year-old student, enrolling at a school in Palo Alto, Calif., during the 1980s. Several years later, however, he pulled off his greatest scam.

Hogue, going by the name Alexi Santana, told admissions officers at Princeton University he was a self-educated athlete from Montana, where he owned a horse and herded cattle, The Washington Post reported. He claimed his dad, an artist, died in a car crash. His mom, a sculptor, was supposedly dying of leukemia in Switzerland.

Hogue was soon accepted to the elite school, making the dean’s list and varsity track team.

But the lies came crashing down on Hogue at a Harvard-Yale-Princeton track meet in 1991 when a Yale student recognized Hogue/Santana as the man who posed as a high school student in Palo Alto. He was arrested and faced a slew of counts, including wrongful impersonation. He ended up spending nine months in prison and paid back $22,000 in financial aid.

The next year, Hogue gained employment as a guard at a Harvard museum – but he was charged with grand larceny after he was alleged to have stolen $50,000 worth of gemstones. Hogue quickly violated his probation by trying to pose as a graduate student at Princeton, though he didn’t enroll in classes, Time reported.

The police officer who arrested him in November said Hogue’s latest alias was “David Bee…from Ontario,” according to The Washington Post.

“But I knew it was him,” Aspen police officer Dan Davis said.

That could be because of Hogue’s extensive history in the area. He was arrested twice in the late 1990s in Aspen, once for bike theft and pushing a cop and a second time for attempted theft of hair regrowth treatment and food, The Washington Post reported.

A burglary spree – about 7,000 items worth $100,000 – several years later earned him a five-year term in federal prison that started in 2007.