You are here
Home > News > Whitebean pleads guilty, ends Project Malbac case

Whitebean pleads guilty, ends Project Malbac case

Robert Whitebean’s long journey through the court system as part of Project Malbec ended Friday with a guilty plea, fine and some community service. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

After almost four years of court dates, hearings and stress after being arrested, Robert Whitebean pleaded guilty in a Longueuil courtroom Friday.

Whitebean was the only defendant remaining of those arrested for fraud in May, 2015 as part of Operation Malbec that targeted the First Nations Winery and its owner Floyd Lahache.

“I’m just glad it’s over,” said Whitebean. “I would have had to go for another year-and-a-half to two years if I wanted to fight it.” 

According to the statement of facts Whitebean, the former general manager of the FNW, pleaded guilty to, he “became aware that the taxes, GST and QST, were no longer collected, nor surrendered to the competent authorities during purchases made by customers and resellers of the FNW.” 

The facts also read that he discussed the situation with Lahache and co-owner Luca Gaspari, who “told him not to meddle in this business.”

Whitebean was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and serve 100 hours of community service within his six months probation.

Gaspari and Lahache pleaded guilty to their fraud charges in December.

Whitebean told The Eastern Door that he would fight the charges in the past, but was exhausted by the lengthy case.

“It’s just annoying,” said Whitebean. “You can’t leave the country, you can’t go anywhere, I can’t go to Ontario, I wasn’t allowed to move anywhere. Four years, I was only allowed to stay in one place… Even when my dad died, I wasn’t allowed to be there when he died. I had to wait a week later, to go through the court system before I could even go to Alberta just to get on the plane.”

[email protected]

With rising printing costs, overhead and inflation, community newspapers like The Eastern Door are finding it increasingly more difficult to keep afloat. But here’s a way you can help: 
Please consider a financial contribution to help us keep doing what we do best; telling the stories of our people in a contemporary medium – a solid archive of our cherished history. Your kind donation will go towards a paper that stands as equal parts historical record, in-depth, informative and award-winning news, colourful stories, as well as a big boost to the local economy by employing 95 percent local workers. Also, please consider subscribing to our e-edition, which comes out Thursday night, at www.easterndoor.com today, or pick up your copy Friday morning in Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Akwesasne or Chateauguay.
We exercise real freedom of the press every single day. Without our reporters fighting for the truth our community would be missing something. E-transfers are accepted at: [email protected]
Top