Police seize $24M in assets, charge London, Ont. man as they tackle illegal gaming
Robert Barletta was among those arrested as part of Project Hobart. (Source: OPP)
LONDON, ONT. -- A London, Ont. man, who police say is a member of the Hells Angels, is facing more charges, as police seize $24 million in assets as part of a massive illegal gaming investigation.
Robert Barletta was arrested Wednesday and charged with money laundering and fraud (related to tax evasion) against the Government of Canada. Police say his tax evasion charges were also amended to reflect a greater taxable benefit.
In addition, four other people are facing charges of working for a criminal organization, bookmaking, proceeds of crime, money laundering and tax evasion, while three others are charged with money laundering and proceeds of crime.
Officers with 18 police agencies and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) executed four search warrants in London, Oakville, Toronto and Pickering. Other judicial warrants were executed at eight locations in London, Toronto, Welland and Thornbury resulting in the seizure and/or restraint of $24 million worth of assets including:
- three residences and one vacant vacation property;
- eight vehicles; including sports cars, a vintage automobile and one Harley Davidson motorcycle;
- financial assets of three land/property development companies, including building lots in the Collingwood area; one of which has a $7-million newly-built house on it;
- $82,590 CDN and $25,398 US in cash;
- approximately seven kilograms of psilocybin and 0.5 kilogram of marijuana for a total value of $66,986
Vehicles were seized by police on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 as part of Project Hobart II. (Source: OPP)
Last December, police say they broke up a multi-million dollar illegal gaming operation that was tied to a series of attempted murders, arsons, extortion threats, shootings and assaults.
Barletta was also charged at that time.
OPP launched Project Hobart as a result of an escalation of violence across Ontario and Quebec between Aug. 2017 and May 2018.
Their focus was on an illegal gaming organization allegedly controlled by members of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang.
At the time, 28 people were charged with 228 offences and police seized or restrained $12 million worth of worth of residential properties, luxury and vintage automobiles and motorcycles, off-road vehicles, cash, gold and silver bars and jewelry.
All eight accused are expected to answer to the charges in Brampton, Ont. on Sept. 17.