A BUSINESSMAN will admit to fraud against unsuspecting investors, but disputes his crimes cost them £3.5million, a court heard.
David Reid is accused of conning millions out of customers at the Washington Mortgage Centre, based in The Galleries, before it closed in January.
At Newcastle Crown Court, Reid said through his defence team he will admit the deception – but disputes the £3.5million figure.
His legal team will now draft in experts to trawl through 7,000 pages of documents connected with the case.
The 49-year-old faces 22 offences of obtaining money transfer by deception and one under the Theft Act.
They came after police launched an investigation probing 51 claims of irregular dealings at the business.
Customers reported they were unable to access money invested through the centre.
Reid was not asked to enter a plea to the charges, which span a period of more than 10 years, but his barrister Jamie Adams said he will admit wrongdoing.
Mr Adams said: “This is a complex fraud involving, at the moment, the prosecution say, something like a fraud to the tune of £3.5million of monies taken from investors and employed in a so-called Ponzi scheme.
“This will, in due course, be a guilty plea, it is a question of the extent of it all.
“It is one of those cases where it is vital for the defence to have an opinion from a forensic accountant.
“There are detailed records of all the transactions which have led to these charges.
“They need to be looked at and gone through.”
Judge James Goss QC adjourned the case until December 23.
He said: “I understand you do not deny you have committed a significant number of offences but I can understand the material has to be scrutinised to identify precisely what offences you have committed and the extent of them.”
Reid, of St John’s Mews, Burnhope, County Durham, was granted bail until the next hearing.