Con man gets prison time for build­ing Aspen shack

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Rick Car­roll

A con man who racked up felonies from Cal­i­for­nia to New Jersey was sen­tenced Mon­day to prison terms of three and six years for his ac­tions tied to il­le­gally build­ing a shack on Aspen Moun­tain.

Pitkin County District Judge Chris Seldin noted James Hogue’s “ex­tra­or­di­nary” crim­i­nal his­tory fea­tur­ing as many as five felony con­vic­tions and mul­ti­ple mis­de­meanors — which don’t in­clude his Aspen trans­gres­sions — for crimes rang­ing from theft to fraud­u­lently gain­ing ad­mit­tance to Prince­ton Univer­sity on a track schol­ar­ship when he was in his 30s.

“This is a striking crim­i­nal his­tory for its con­sis­tency,” Seldin said when de­liv­er­ing the sen­tence. “And what it tells the court is if Mr. Hogue isn’t in jail or prison or oth­er­wise in­car­cer­ated, he’s com­mit­ting a crime. That’s his way of life. I’ve heard noth­ing about any men­tal health is­sues or sub­stance is­sues or other ex­pla­na­tions for his pat­tern of be­hav­ior, other than this is a life­style of a ca­reer crim­i­nal, from what I can tell.”

Hogue, 57, pleaded guilty in Fe­bru­ary to felony theft be­tween $2,000 and $5,000, felony pos­ses­sion of bur­glary tools and mis­de­meanor ob­struct­ing po­lice of­fi­cers.

Seldin sen­tenced Hogue to six years in prison for the theft con­vic­tion and three years for the pos­ses­sion of tools con­vic­tion. The sen­tences will run con­cur­rently. The judge also sen­tenced Hogue to 138 days of jail for the mis­de­meanor con­vic­tion, which is credit for the time he has spent in Pitkin County Jail since he was ar­rested.

Hogue faced pre­sump­tive prison ranges of one to three years. Seldin, how­ever, gave him ag­gra­vated sen­tences be­cause the judge de­ter­mined that Hogue is a chronic of­fender and a long shot for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

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