A gambling addict threatened to make false allegations against a takeaway restaurant owner unless he was paid £3,000, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
Graham Brader, who had debts of £15,000, wrote to his victim saying he would expose him to the authorities for employing illegal immigrants and committing tax and VAT offences.
Brader arranged to telephone the man at a later date adding in his letter: “I know you are a selfish, nasty, law-breaking person. I’m going to make you pay.”
When the man opened the letter he was unable to read it due to his lack of English and only learned of its contents after a delivery driver translated it for him.
Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said the victim was innocent of the allegations made by Brader and went to the police.
Officers instructed him to be at his premises to take the call.
Brader then rang him but the man, who speaks little English, told him he did not understand what was being said.
Brader said he would call back two days later and put the phone down.
Mr Scott said: “There were no further calls. The victim was very frightened.”
Police obtained the subscriber details of the mobile phone from which the call was made and spoke to the woman owner who told officers that Brader had asked her to acquire the phone for him.
Brader was then arrested and claimed he had been asked to write the letter by a man he met in a betting shop at The Forum, North Hykeham. He said he assumed it was all a prank.
Brader, 58, of Wetherby Crescent, Lincoln, admitted a charge of blackmail on 17th January.
Edna Leonard, defending, said: “He wrote the letter and he made the telephone call and used his own telephone.”
“It was very short-lived and it was clearly not carried through.”
Miss Leonard said that since his arrest Brader had started to deal with his problems and has sought help from the Citizens Advice Bureau and Gamblers’ Anonymous.
Brader was given an 18 month jail sentence suspended for two years with 12 months supervision and 150 hours of unpaid work.
He was also banned from all betting shops for 12 months.