Poker Player Dennis Blieden Sentenced to 6.5 Years for Stealing $22M

Posted on: June 10, 2021, 05:04h. 

Last up to date on: June 10, 2021, 05:04h.

Poker player Dennis Blieden, 31, was sentenced to 79 months in prison on Wednesday for embezzling $22 million from a digital marketing and expertise company that appeared soon after social media influencers.

Dennis Blieden
Dennis Blieden craved validation from the poker gamers he had idolised on Tv set. He blamed his crimes on his gambling and amphetamine habit. (Impression: NYC Poker Tour)

In February 2018, the Cincinnati indigenous won the Earth Poker Tour’s LA Poker Common for $1 million. But these winnings were being just a drop in the ocean when compared with the funds he had currently stolen from his employer, Hollywood-primarily based StyleHaul Inc.

Blieden was the VP of accounting and finance for StyleHaul from October 2019 and had control of its bank accounts. According to an inner SyleHaul memo filed by prosecutors, in 2017 by yourself he embezzled $15 million.

He did this by wiring funds to his personal account, though developing faux accounting data and bogus Western Union letters so it would surface money was likely to purchasers.

Phony Way of life

Prosecutors explained this allowed him to reside out a fantasy elite-poker way of life, entering the biggest tournaments, enjoying in the biggest income games, and rubbing shoulders with players he’d previously only idolised on Television set.

And he curried favor with his new buddies by backing them in tournaments. He issued extra than $1 million in checks to other players, in accordance to court filings.

Blieden also invested some of the stolen money in cryptocurrency, which accrued value. But this was not more than enough to offset the money he dropped gambling on on the internet poker and slots, as very well on the live poker circuit.

An interior StyleHaul investigation in 2019 uncovered Blieden’s transgressions. In an job interview in March that yr with fellow firm executives, he lied when asked how significantly was still left of the sum he experienced stolen.

He said he had all-around $50,000 in his personal accounts and some cryptocurrency in several e-wallets.

But according to the feds, he subsequently dropped $3 million into slot machines in Las Vegas immediately after he broke up with his longtime girlfriend.

StyleHaul Collapse

StyleHaul could not survive Blieden’s economical abuse. The business as soon as had 5,000 electronic influencers on its textbooks, which includes YouTube and Instgram stars Zoella, Joey Graceffa, and Dulce Candy, and claimed to create 2.5 billion sights per thirty day period.

It to begin with planned to shut its US functions and relocate to London, but it folded for fantastic in May perhaps 2019.

In a pre-sentencing letter to California Central District Decide André Birotte Jr, Blieden blamed his perform on his addiction to gambling and amphetamines.

Subsequent his WPT acquire, he explained he was “outwardly validated in just the poker neighborhood and from my peers as becoming a qualified gambler, so I did everything I could to continue to keep that name alive.

“I was chasing my financial debt, but also making an attempt to retain up with a way of life that was a lie,” he confessed.

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