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Man Pretends He's Trans in College Degree Scam

fraud scam attempt durham university transgender trans identity man woman college degree law diploma school documents

Some people want to be trans until it’s actually time to be trans. In a bizarre story, one man appropriated trans identity to “feel better” about himself.

A female law school graduate at U.K.-based Durham University was the target of a fraud attempt by Nathan Hogg, who told university officials in an email that he had become a trans man in the years since graduating and needed the degree reissued in his name. Hogg found the woman’s LinkedIn profile and used the information there in his attempts to convince university officials that he indeed attended the institution. 

After Hogg was asked to produce the original copy of the degree, he claimed that he lost it, as Chronicle Live reports. But when degree’s rightful owner contacted the university to get a job reference, and the scam was foiled and law enforcement was contacted soon after.

“The whole matter has caused me to feel violated and upset that someone has purported to be me,” said the woman, whose real name hasn’t been released, in court documents. In the same filing, she recalled performing a Google and LinkedIn search of Nathan Hogg’s name, and found a profile that included her information and qualifications. 

Court prosecutor James Long said the attempt was quite extensive. Apparently, as he told the court, Hogg also provided officials a “convincing” document with witnesses and signatures that attest to the name change and gender transition.

Hogg’s fraud attempted to exploit a very real process that many college and graduate school alums who are trans or nonbinary have to go through. That process, which is ultimately a matter relating to both safety and privacy, can be long and arduous. But some universities, like Dartmouth, have recently made it easier

While defending Hogg in court, attorney Paul Dunn said that the student is a “quite a depressed anxious young man who is finding it difficult.” 

“He himself undertook a two-three year degree but did not complete it. Maybe there's a sense there that he has failed himself and was trying to make himself feel better,” Dunn said. “But then the way to make yourself feel better is not to make someone else feel bad about themselves.” 

Hogg was ordered by the court to complete a rehabilitation program, perform 120 hours of community service and pay the victim £500 compensation.

RELATED | Dartmouth Will Let Trans Students Pick Gender, Pronouns, Name

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