A World Poker Tour champion will utilize bigger than six years in the again of bars for embezzling $22 million from his frail employer.
Dennis Blieden, who gained the 2018 WPT LA Poker Classic major match for $1,00,000, used to be sentenced to 79 months in federal penal complex by a U.S. District Courtroom decide in Central California. He’ll moreover be forced to pay $22.7 million in restitution.
Blieden, 31, pled guilty in November 2019 to one depend of wire fraud and identification theft as half of a plea deal. He used to be in the beginning coping with 11 counts of wire fraud, one depend of identification theft and two counts of forfeiture. These charges might well land him up to 200 years in penal complex, but after the plea deal, he used to be coping with a most of 22 years in the again of bars.
The Cincinnati native served as the controller and vp of accounting and finance for StyleHaul, a Los Angeles-primarily based entirely digital marketing company that represented “influencers” on YouTube and Instagram. He had support watch over of the corporate’s finances and feeble $22 million to finance his excessive-stakes playing.
For the duration of his tenure, Blieden falsified wire transfers from Western Union to carry out it see admire the money used to be being feeble to pay purchasers, but as an different, he used to be conserving the money for himself.
The DOJ stated that Blieden wrote $1.2 million in private assessments to different poker gamers, feeble $1.1 million to repay bank cards and spent one other $8.4 million seeking cryptocurrency. The relaxation of it used to be feeble for his private expenditures, together with excessive-stakes poker. The cryptocurrency he purchased had most fresh, but now now not ample to repay his money owed to the corporate.
An internal investigation by the corporate in March of 2019 led to the uncovering of Blieden’s actions. He used to be indicted in Las Vegas later that One year and extradited to Southern California. Blieden stole the money over just a few years sooner than in the slay leaving the corporate in 2018.
Even supposing he earned a seven-resolve acquire alongside with his WPT victory in 2018, he used to be already buried in debt from prior playing endeavors and wasn’t even shut to paying again the money owed he owed to the corporate. He embezzled $15 million in 2017, per an internal StyleHaul memo.
The feds stated that on one among his playing journeys to Las Vegas, he lost $3 million on slot machines on my own. It used to be his playing field coupled alongside with his favor to grow to be a a success poker official that drove him deeper into the gap, which he referenced in a 15-page pre-sentencing letter that Blieden wrote to Resolve Andre Birotte Jr.
“I used to be chasing my debt, but moreover attempting to retain with a everyday life that used to be a lie,” wrote Blieden.
He went on to instruct that following his WPT victory, he used to be “outwardly validated one day of the poker team” and that he “did the total lot [he] might well to support that standing alive.” He moreover admitted to having a difficulty with methamphetamines in his letter.
Prosecutors instantaneous locking up Blieden for 8.5 years, but Birotte shaved nearly two years off that alongside with his sentencing.