The court heard how a gambling addiction led a 45-year-old Grantham man to pretend to be his parents in order to borrow money from eight lenders.
Jamie Lai of Longcliffe Road, pleaded guilty to all eight counts of fraud by false representation, which he committed to obtain a total of £22,965 between May 4 and August 2 last year.
Prosecutor Shelley Wilson detailed how Lai’s elderly parents with whom he lives at Longcliffe Road returned to Hong Kong for a few months in 2013.
While they were away, Lai applied for credit and loans by ‘masquerading’ as both his mother and father online, borrowing amounts ranging from £311 to £10,467.
On his parents’ return, Lai confessed to them what he had done before voluntarily handing himself in at the police station.
Mrs Wilson said: “He told police he had fallen into a gambling addiction and that the amounts started small but he had then been unable to pay them back.”
The prosecutor added that Lai had no previous convictions, and that the matter could be dealt with by magistrates or by a crown court.
Defending, Julian Sheen acknowledged that a breach of trust was among the aggravating features of the case, but highlighted that his client had made ‘a full and frank admission’.
Mr Sheen told the court that Lai was still living with his parents and was anxious to pay the money back in full.
However he added that there was a large amount of money involved, with Lai owing in the region of £60,000 which consists of the values in the charges along with previous debt.
Grantham magistrates concluded that the case did fall within their jurisdication and for all eight fraud offences gave Lai a suspended custodial sentence of 20 weeks, to be activated if he commits any further offence within 12 months.
Lai must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work over the year.
Magistrates ordered him to pay prosecution costs of £85 and 20% of the total amount taken, £4,593, through the courts in compensation to the lenders.
They added: “The rest of the amount is a matter between them and you - they will have their own ways of recovering the money.”