Derbyshire benefits cheat postman to pay back just £6,000
Anthony Linaker fraudulently claimed more than £36,000
A former Derbyshire postman who illegally claimed more than £36,000 in benefits while working his round has been ordered to pay back just over £6,000.
Anthony Linaker claimed his hip problems were so severe he needed help to dress himself, go to the toilet and get in and out of bed.
But all the time he was walking five-hours rounds, had a season ticket at Manchester City and posted pictures of Facebook of him digging holes in the sand on a beach.
In March the 46-year-old was jailed for 26 weeks after pleading guilty to benefit fraud.
Now, a hearing at Derby Crown Court under the Proceeds of Crime Acts has been told how he has just £6,067.56 available to him to pay back what he fraudulently claimed.
Judge Nirmal Shant QC said: “The benefit figure from this I declare as £36,744.90 and the available amount to be confiscated is £6,067.56.
“Mr Linaker, you know what the order is and you have to pay it all in three months or I will have to send you to prison for four months.
“Do you understand?”
Linaker replied: “Yes I do, thank you.”
What is POCA?
The Proceeds of Crime Act allows the police to apply for cash to be seized from criminals who have made their money from ill-gotten gains.
It is typically used after drug dealers have been sentenced and can see criminals forced to sell properties, cars or jewellery that belongs to them to pay the cash back.
The money that is seized is split 50-50 between the police and the Government and is often used to fund community projects.
Importantly, if a convicted criminal comes into money later in life which he or she does not currently have, police can still apply to have that seized.
The facts of the original case
At his sentencing hearing in March prosecutor Christopher Jeyes, said Linaker claimed benefits between April 2009 to May 2017.
He said: “The false claims began in June 2012 until 2017. They lasted five years.
“He had a hip replacement in 2010 and had a leg brace.
“He claimed disability living allowance and he said he needed help to get in bed, help going to the toilet, help washing and drying himself.
“It transpired these claims were untrue.
“He was a season ticket holder at Manchester City and attended football matches regularly.
"He was employed as a postman.
"He was given some time off for the hip replacement.
"He was allowed to sit down when sorting post and he was capable of sorting for 2.5 hours and was bending to do so.
"He also delivered mail five hours per day and was allowed to drive the bigger van.
"Footage was taken of him on his round from a surveillance investigation.
"He was interviewed in June 2017 and in that interview he was worn down and accepted the claims to be untrue.”
Filmed doing his rounds
Surveillance footage was taken by the Department of Work and Pensions, during their investigation, which showed Linaker on his rounds.
Judge Jonathan Bennett, who presided over the case jailed him for 26 weeks.
He said: “Benefits are meant for those who need help.
“We live in times of austerity, the public purse is extremely tight and sometimes people who claim benefits are disparaged as scroungers.
“You are of previous good character, but this not a question of you exaggerating claims, you told down-right lies.
“We came across surveillance footage and there are pictures of you on a beach having fun with the family and the kids, which people benefit claiming can't do.”
Sorry for what he did
Nicola Hunter, mitigating in March, said Linaker was sorry for what he had done.
She said: "He is 46-years-old and has had deformed hips since his childhood.
"Coupled with that, he has osteoarthritis which causes him a lot of pain.
Woman who falsely claimed she was living alone cheated £30k out of benefit system
"His mother died last year and he has been grieving for her and been stressed about these proceedings.
"He has lost his job, lost his home and is on Employment Support Allowance and is paying the DWP back £60 a week off his own back."
Following the sentencing of Linaker, now of Languard Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk, the Department of Work and Pensions has issued a statement concerning those who dishonestly claim benefits.
A DWP spokesman said: “Only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest, but cases like these show how we are catching the minority who cheat the system and divert taxpayers' money from those who need it.
“We are determined to catch those we suspect of fraudulently claiming benefits by following up on tip-offs, undertaking surveillance and working with local councils.”