An alleged Hells Angels member from London is facing new charges after police raided several properties in Ontario and seized $24 million in assets as part of an investigation into illegal gambling.
Ontario Provincial Police on Wednesday arrested Londoner Robert Barletta, a founder of the London Hells Angels chapter and former president, and charged him with money laundering and tax evasion.
The OPP had already charged Barletta in December with 12 weapons and bookmaking charges, as well as commission of an offence for a criminal organization and income tax evasion, following a two-year investigation involving 18 police agencies called Operation Hobart. That effort also saw 27 other people charged and police seized $12-million worth of assets.
A series of shootings, arsons and assaults prompted the launch of Project Hobart, police said then.
Police allege the gambling operation, which used five different websites that made $131 million in illegal revenue over five years, was controlled and operated by Barletta and two other alleged Hells Angels members.
The latest charges against Barletta, a longtime local strip-club owner nicknamed the “Teflon biker” for keeping his record clean, come after police say officers and the Canada Revenue Agency raided eight properties in London, Toronto, Welland and Thornbury. Police seized:
- 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- or 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
- $67,000 worth of drugs, specifically psilocybin and marijuana
Besides Barletta, four people were also charged with bookmaking, commission of an offence for a criminal organization, proceeds of crime, money laundering and tax evasion, while three others are charged with money laundering and proceeds of crime.
All the accused are expected to appear in court in Brampton on Sept. 17, police said.