A "reprobate" Sydney man who fleeced drought-ravaged farmers of more than $40,000 in a hay scam is set to be jailed after pleading guilty to fraud.
Matthew Lewis Small cried as he was refused bail and told he was going to be imprisoned when he appeared in Fairfield Local Court on Friday.
Wearing a black and white check shirt and sporting a heavy beard, the 27-year-old sobbed, put his head in his hands and uttered "no" as magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis told him he was set to be jailed for the offences.
"It will ultimately lead to a term of custodial imprisonment being imposed," Mr Tsavdaridis said.
Mr Tsavdaridis said Small's crimes were exacerbated by the fact he ripped off people who had been financially and emotionally crippled by drought and the bushfire crisis.
"It can be described as calculated, relentless and unscrupulous and bears a high degree of deception," Mr Tsavdaridis said.
"It is reprobate, disingenuous targeting (of) vulnerable members of the community against the backdrop of the financial struggles currently faced by those who have been affected by persistent drought conditions in rural NSW."
Small pleaded guilty to 14 counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception after being arrested at his Villawood home 24 hours earlier.
Small, who used a series of aliases when posting fake ads to Facebook buy-sell groups and Gumtree, admitted ripping off 13 victims all over NSW and one from Queensland.
His offences totalled more than $40,000 after posting ads for heavily discounted hay bales but failing to deliver the product after receiving a deposit.
His lawyer applied for bail, arguing he was caught up in the wrong crowd and feared for his safety if jailed.
However, Mr Tsavdaridis sided with police, pointing out Small had been convicted in his absence of three similar offences related to the sale of firewood last year, all of which were conducted in a similar way.
He failed to appear in court on those matters and when police arrested him on Thursday he had four outstanding warrants.
He was also on a good behaviour bond relating to domestic violence offences.
Smith will return to court for sentencing of his prior offences on February 7 before being sentenced for his current fraud matters on March 6.
Australian Associated Press