Former WPT champion Dennis Blieden has pled guilty to two counts in a $22million embezzlement case that could see him jailed for up to 22 years.
Former Hollywood digital marketing executive and professional poker player admits embezzling $22 million from employer https://t.co/NS6j7kMGW2
— US Attorney L.A. (@USAO_LosAngeles) November 23, 2019
Blieden admitted his guilt on one count of wire fraud and one of aggravated identity theft. The other 12 charges were dismissed, saving him from a possible 200-year federal sentence.
The plea agreement was outlined in a press release this week from the DoJ’sU.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Blieden is a former executive at StyleHaul Inc. – described as a digital marketing company that represents “influencers” on Instagram and YouTube- he used his position of trust as a controller and vice president of accounting and finance to fleece the company of more than $22million.
He used the money to fund a lifestyle that included expensive buy-ins to poker tournaments. He also transferred much of it into cryptocurrency accounts.
An FBI investigation led to his arrest back in July, charging him with 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and two forfeiture counts…
Former Hollywood Digital Marketing Executive and Professional Poker Player Charged with Embezzling $22 Million From His Employer: Dennis Blieden is charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and two forfeiture counts f… https://t.co/NL967dlqpL
— FBI Los Angeles (@FBILosAngeles) July 18, 2019
Among the details revealed in court records, Blieden used the embezzled funds for:
- $1,204,000 in personal checks to poker players,
- $1,134,956 to pay off his credit cards, and
- $8,473,734 transferred to his crypto-currency accounts,
Blieden stole the money between October 2015 and March 2019, the fraudster made false entries in StyleHaul’s accounts to mask his stealing.
The illegal wire transfers he made claimed to be payments to StyleHaul clients. But instead, they were going straight into his own pocket. This is the wire fraud charge he pled guilty to.
The aggravated identity theft charge that he also pled guilty to revolved around the illegal transfer of $230,000 of StyleHaul’s funds, purportedly for company rental of a condominium.
Blieden admitted to forging a StyleHaul executive’s signature for this ‘fictitious lease’, in order to ‘disguise his fraud’.
The court records also show that Blieden paid $52,000 and $103,000 in poker buy-ins shortly before he was dismissed from StyleHaul. Blieden also paid the $300,000 buy-in for last year’s Super High Roller Bowl at the Aria.
His Hendon Mob record is sparse, with only 6 cashes from live events reported…
…but one of those is the massive WPT Los Angeles Poker Classic victory from 2018, scooping $1million after defeating England’s Toby Lewis heads-up.
There will be a sentence on March 20th next year and Blieden will face a statutory maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.
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