A sentencing hearing at Leeds Crown Court heard Shaun Walker, 36, of Textile Street, Dewsbury, had intimidated a young man he knew through work into handing over his entire savings, by threatening the victim and his family.
The court heard how Walker had made boasts the the victim that he was “tough” and “knew dangerous people”.
Walker originally took small amounts from the victim, but this soon grew to bigger sums – including one of £3,000. During his sentencing remarks, the judge then said Walker made up a “bogus medical story”, to avoid going to work.
Walker then carried on intimidating the victim on social media. The court heard the victim had “every last penny” of his savings wiped out between November 7 and November 29, 2019.
The victim eventually broke down in tears while talking to his boss about what Walker had done to him.
A statement written by the victim, and submitted as evidence in the case, stated: “I feel like this incident has had a massive effect on me. I am quite a vulnerable and quiet person anyway. but this has caused me to have anxiety.
"My mum took me to see a psychiatrist last year so I would have someone to talk to as she was worried about me.
"I have had trouble eating and sleeping due to the anxiety. It caused me to not trust people and not be open to new friendship because I’m worried someone else will take advantage.
"This has been a mental strain on me. I’m not where I should be financially in my marriage, and I am a little embarrassed because of that.
"I am the eldest brother. I just hope my younger brothers can still look up to me and be proud of me.”
The victim added the incident caused him to change his place of work.
Mitigating for Walker, his barrister told the court: “He has in the past had issues with his mental health, but that has now been resolved.”
She added Walker’s son no longer wanted to speak to him since he was placed on remand.
Walker was found guilty of blackmail and theft on June 9, following a trial.
Sentencing Walker, Judge Christopher Batty said: “This was a mean and totally unpleasant offence.
"You saw a weakness in someone you instantly recognised.
"Being the bully you are, you plied on those weaknesses. You told him stories about how tough you were, and how you knew dangerous people.
"All of it was only ever to engender fear from him to prepare him to give you his money at work.
"You knew it was wrong, so you sought to isolate him so no one could interfere with your plan.
"To meet your demands, you made threats to do him and his family serious harm.
"You carried on intimidating him on social media.
"This was significant and deeply unpleasant intimidation, which continued for a significant period of time.”
Walker was sentenced to 30 months in prison, and was given a restraining order.