A Sydney man who tried to extort money from friends by anonymously threatening to inject their children with the AIDS virus will spend at least two and a half years in jail.
Cris Anonuevo, a 43-year-old father of two from Quakers Hill, pleaded guilty to 20 offences relating to anonymous letters sent to 14 families threatening to inject their children with the virus or to destroy their houses.
He demanded sums ranging from AUD$6000 to $105,000.
In Central Local Court today, magistrate John Favretto sentenced Anonuevo to 42 months' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 30 months.
"The offender preyed upon the vulnerability of children, perhaps the greatest fear a parent can have,'' the magistrate said.
The court previously heard Anonuevo was successful on only one occasion, extorting $50,000 from a Rouse Hill family in April last year.
He was arrested in July in the driveway of his home in northwest Sydney after a failed attempt to collect money from a victim.
The court previously heard Anonuevo had been heavily in debt and wanted money to support his family.
Some of his victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, cried outside court, telling reporters they were relieved at the outcome.
"Our lives have been totally destroyed,'' said one woman, who paid Anonuevo $50,000.
"After reading (his) letter I felt like something had died inside.
"I've never, ever felt that pain before in my life.''
Anonuevo will be eligible for parole in August 2014.