A COMMAN has admitted a £12,000 scam when he obtained bogus crisis loans and committed identity fraud.
Samuel Smith, 25, is said to be the ringleader of an £8,000 conspiracy in Hartlepool when he persuaded 22 people to claim emergency loans by saying they were homeless.
Smith used their personal details to apply over the phone for the loans.
He is understood to have pocketed a slice of the loans which ranged from £200 to £400 each.
He encouraged a host of people to take part in the scam after he travelled to Hartlepool and met up with co-conspirators.
But he left the area after the con was rumbled following an investigation by the Department of Work and Pensions.
Smith later emerged in the the Plymouth area where he continued to abuse the system and pocketed a further £4,000 in crisis loans and fraudulent benefits.
He did that by using the personal details of some of the people he worked with in Hartlepool and hijacked their identities, as well as those of his own brother and a man Smith had met in prison. He pleaded guilty to a total of 20 fraud charges when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court over a videolink to Exeter Prison where he is on remand.
They include conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and dishonestly retaining a wrongful credit. Smith, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced, along with the 22 others in the conspiracy, on a date to be fixed next month.