Landlord convicted over tenant shakedown

Anthony Mowad told two Frenchmen they were stupid to rip people off during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anthony Mowad told two Frenchmen they were stupid to rip people off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Sydney landlord and his mate have been reprimanded over the shakedown of a tenant they joked was worthy of a Quentin Tarantino film.

Mario Venneri, 57, placed a chained bike lock on the table and made a fake phone call to a "worse" guy called Johnny during the heated, half-hour meeting in his Surry Hills home in June 2020.

"You have two ways to go, the good way and the wrong way," he warned tenant Brice Gouillou, then 24, on the afternoon of June 17.

"Give me your phone, you are going to be in trouble if you don't pay me."

Venneri was convicted on Friday and placed on an 18-month conditional release order after pleading guilty to the intimidation and assault of Mr Gouillou and a friend of the tenant.

Anthony Joseph Mowad, aged 57, who was called to the unit by the landlord during the shakedown, was also placed on a conditional release order but was spared conviction for his admissions to intimidation charges.

The incident was sparked by Venneri's discovery that Mr Gouilloi was secretly subletting the two-bedroom terrace home for $700 a week.

The young Frenchman had earlier renegotiated his rent well below that amount the previous month due to supposed financial constraints induced by the COVID-19 pandemic

After evicting the sub-letter and changing the locks, Venneri waited inside the unit for Mr Gouillou, who arrived with a friend, aged 23, agreed facts state.

He texted "come now mate" to Mowad and ordered the younger men place their hands on the table.

Explaining he knew of the secret sub-letter and the rent she'd paid, Venneri demanded $6650 rent owed to him - moving zip ties and a bike lock he'd placed on the table.

When little changed, Mowad asked Venneri to "get your other friend to come here", prompting Venneri to threaten "if you think I am bad, he is worse".

"Johnny, it's your time now," he spoke into his inactive phone.

Mowad told the Frenchmen they were "f***ing stupid" to "rip people off during COVID" before Venneri said "we'll solve this problem".

The fearful Mr Gouillou soon after transferred Venneri the full amount before all left the home.

"This has been a Quinton (sic) Tarantino moment for us to talk about in our later years," Venneri texted his mate, in celebration that evening.

"I'm happy you tough with them straight away. It put them in a spin and flooded them with fear," Mowad replied.

Arrested the next day, Venneri had made full admissions to police.

Australian Associated Press