Canada, Ontario: Police seize $24 million in assets, charge London man as they tackle illegal gaming

Robert Barletta

LONDON, ONT. — A London man who police say is a member of the Hells Angels, is facing more charges following the seizure Wednesday of $24 million of assets.

Police have called the operation Project HOBART, which involves 18 police agencies.

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.

Officers and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) executed four search warrants in London, Oakville, Toronto and Pickering and other judicial warrants 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;
  •  The 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 USD in cash;
  •  Approximately seven kilograms of psilocybin and .5 kilogram of marijuana for a total value of $66,986.

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 August 2017 and May 2018.

Their focus was on an illegal gaming organization allegedly controlled by members of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle club.

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 jewellery.

Four other people are now facing charges and three others received additional charges on Wednesday.

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Source: CTV News