Apprentice contestant admits fraud

A former contestant in The Apprentice admitted four counts of fraud yesterday.

Mortgage broker Christopher Farrell faced magistrates in Plymouth charged with four counts of fraud by false representation.

Farrell, 29, from Upton, Wirral, Merseyside, spoke only to confirm his name, age and address and enter the guilty pleas.

He was originally arrested in August, shortly before the current series of the BBC1 show – which finished on Sunday – was broadcast. He will be sentenced at a later date.

The former Royal Marine, who heard "You're fired" from Lord Sugar in week eight of the show, made a guest appearance on Sunday night's final when he was part of winner Stella English's team creating, marketing and selling an alcoholic drink.

His Apprentice profile said he claims to show no emotion, likes to be pushed and, as a former Royal Marine, is not afraid to give people a "kick up the backside".

He told BBC execs: "I've been to the other side of things where friends lose legs, lose limbs, so I know I'm lucky to be where I am.

"I was a sniper in the Royal Marines and I take that killer instinct across into business."

In pleading guilty, Farrell also asked for three further charges to be taken into consideration.

Magistrates decided their powers of sentence were insufficient and committed Farrell to Plymouth Crown Court to be sentenced on January 28. They also ordered a pre-sentence report and released him on unconditional bail until sentencing.

The court was told that, desperate to earn more money to support his wife and young family, Farrell started inflating clients' incomes to ensure their mortgage applications were successful – thereby hitting his monthly sales target.

Farrell would either alter P60 forms or payslips to show his clients in a more favourable light to a mortgage lender or create fake documents, magistrates were told.