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Crime

Man tried to trick university into giving him law degree by pretending to be a former student who’d transitioned

Patrick Kelleher October 21, 2019
Man tried to get law degree from Durham University by pretending to be transgender.

Entrance to Durham Castle. (Photo by: Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty)

A 30-year-old man tried to trick Durham University into giving him a law degree by pretending he was a former student who had transitioned.

Nathan Hogg contacted the university last year and claimed he was formerly a female student at the institution but had since transitioned to male.

Hogg – who found the former student’s details on LinkedIn – then asked Durham University to reissue the degree with his name instead of the former female student’s, Chronicle Live reports.

The woman was shocked when she found out the man was trying to steal her Durham University degree.

He was subsequently asked by a staff member to provide the original degree certificate. He claimed he had since lost it. He later provided “a very convincing document” signed in both the woman’s name and his own name in an effort to get a reissued degree certificate with his name.

Hogg’s attempted fraud was uncovered when the real female student contacted the university asking for a reference. Officials then discovered that she had not transitioned and reported the incident to police.

The woman – who is not trans – was shocked when she found out that a man was trying to steal her degree.

The aggravating feature of the case is that the defendant has gone to some effort to further that fraud.

She searched his name online and found a LinkedIn profile belonging to the defendant in which he listed her exact qualification, degree and college results. The woman said she felt “violated and upset” over the incident.

Hogg was reportedly depressed and tried to claim the woman’s degree to make himself “feel better”. He has now pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation.

Hogg was ordered to pay the victim £500 in compensation.

Prosecutor James Long at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court said it was “a very unusual case”.

He said the victim – who is a trainee solicitor – had graduated with a “good degree” from Durham University.

“The university was contacted by the defendant in December last year purporting to be [the woman], using an email address.

“In the email, he was saying that [the woman] had undergone gender reassignment and was now Nathan Hogg, and could the university issue a new certificate of degree in the new name.

“The aggravating feature of the case is that the defendant has gone to some effort to further that fraud,” he said.

Hogg has no previous convictions but has been cautioned twice for making an article for use in fraud.

He has been ordered to pay the victim £500 in compensation and was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work. He must also take part in a rehabilitation activity programme.

More: durham university, nathan hogg, Transgender

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