Professional Poker Player Embezzles $22M, Spends Almost Half on Crypto Gambling

A U.S. person has pleaded guilty to having embezzled millions from his previous employer and spending the funds on personal expenses and crypto-funded poker.

Dennis Blieden perpetrated the wrongdoings while an executive at StyleHaul Inc.—a company that offered marketing services to social media “influencers.” As per a U.S. Branch of Justice news report, Blieden needs to face a statutory maximum sentence of 22 years in jail after pleading guilty to aggravated identity theft and wire fraud.

From October 2015 until March 2019, Blieden was controller and VP of accounting and finance for StyleHaul, where he “abused” his control of the organization’s bank accounts to send money to his own bank account, a plea agreement states. He utilized the stolen money to pay for personal leisures and his professional poker life, which he supported with digital currency purchased with the company’s money.

Said to have participated in, and won, poker competitions, Blieden purportedly utilized company money to buy into two competitions with $52,000 and $103,000, respectively. $1,204,000 was likewise paid in personal checks to other poker players. He additionally gambled online, moving $8,473,734 of StyleHaul money to his cryptocurrency accounts to fund that habit

So as to conceal the burglaries, Blieden made fraudulent entries in StyleHaul’s books disguising wire transfers to his account as authentic payments to customers, or as equity payments owed to him by the company, as per the court documents. He likewise faked letters purportedly from Western Union, implying he’d made wire transfers to a customer who was owed money.

The previous executive further brought the charge of aggravated identity theft upon himself by faking that his employer kept a beach-side condominium in Mexico for use by customers and staff, which included him forging the signature of another executive at StyleHaul. He admitted taking $230,000 through the fake perk, states the DoJ.

On March 20, Blieden will face a sentencing hearing.