Years ago, the Comedy Company TV show had a crazy, comedic character called Con The Fruiterer. Seems like this guy here was who they modelled the character on. Conman indeed. Bewdiful!

A regional Victorian fruiterer who was feared as a vicious mobster for years of “evil, cruel and cowardly” blackmail and extortion has been jailed for 11 years and six months. Fruiterer Vincent Lattore of Shepparton was sentenced in Melbourne’s County Court on Thursday, following multiple convictions stemming from a profitable extortion ring.

Lattore will not be eligible for parole for eight years and three months, was fined $3000 and ordered to pay $120,000 in compensation to some of his victims. Lattore, 49, said “I’ll be back” to his family as he was led away from the courtroom.

The fruiterer and his associates had forced hundreds of thousands of dollars out of his rivals in the Goulburn Valley as assaults, death threats and sabotage of nearby farms were made over a period of years. “These are very bad cases of blackmail,” Judge Felicity Hampel said on Thursday calling Lattore’s actions “evil, cruel and cowardly”. “You took a calculated decision to exploit a situation for your own benefit.”

She told the court Lattore’s activities had all the appearances of a violent campaign to drive others out of business as acts of sabotage destroyed thousands of trees and irrigation equipment. It took more than four hours to have Lattore and his gang’s crimes read out in detail to the court.

A day-long hearing caused emotions to boil over as their families became upset and angry the closer the judge came to her sentencing decision. Guiseppe Campisi, a “fringe player” in the extortion ring, was sentenced to two years and six months and fined $500.

One of Lattore’s enforcers had his sentence deferred until December 15.

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