Dennis Blieden stands to face 22 years behind bars after embezzling $22 million while serving as the vice president of finance and accounting at StyleHaul, a digital marketing firm. The professional poker player pleaded guilty to the charges, and his sentencing awaits him on March 20, 2020.
The Attorney’s office of California announced the guilty plea on Friday, November 22. Blieden served as an executive financial officer at StyleHaul from October 2015 to March 2019. It was while he was serving at the company that he committed the offense by wiring the company’s funds to his bank account.
The accused 30 years old Blieden used $8,473,734 of the stolen money to credit his cryptocurrency accounts, $1,134,956 to settle for his credit cards, he paid for two poker competitions with $103,000 and $52,000 respectively and wrote personal checks worth $1,204,000 to other poker players according to the announcement.
To cover for his criminal acts, the poker player forged the employer’s books of accounts by entering false entries to represent the illegal transfers. He then claimed that the transfers had been authorized for payments owed to the company’s clients. The announcement also claims that the accused faked letter apparently from the Western Union, claiming that he had settled dues owed to the company’s clients.
The charges against Blieden were in two counts, one for serious identity theft and the second for wire fraud, and he admitted guilt for both. Blieden faked the signature of an executive officer at StyleHaul to steal $230,000. Previously, in July this year, he had been held in federal custody, and he is currently standing to face 22 years in a federal prison according to the announcement. Andre Birotte Jr., a U.S district judge, scheduled Blieden’s sentence hearing for March 20 next year.
Blieden won a $1 million prize in March 2018 after being first at the World Poker Tour L.A Poker Classic.