Dennis Blieden Pleads Guilty After Embezzling $22 Million6 months ago
Former WPT champ Dennis Blieden pleaded guilty to two charges in a $22million embezzlement case that could see him go to prison for up to 22 years.
Blieden was the surprise winner of the WPT Los Angeles Poker Classic last February, scooping $1million, but by July he had been arrested and charged with 14 federal offences, including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and two forfeiture counts.
This week he agreed to a plea deal that reduced this to one count each of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft - admitting to embezzling $22million from Instagram-influencer company StyleHaul Inc, while working as their ‘controller and vice president of accounting and finance’.
Blieden used the stolen money to live a lavish lifestyle and fund his poker tournaments, prosecutors stating that he also ‘frequently engaged in online gambling with crypto-currency he purchased with embezzled money.’
Court records listed the following among the ‘personal uses’ he used the money for:
- writing $1,204,000 of personal checks paid to poker players,
- using $1,134,956 to pay off credit cards
- transferring $8,473,734 from StyleHaul’s account to his own crypto-currency accounts.
The court also detailed US Poker Open buy-ins of $52,000 and $103,000 on the indictment, and Blieden is also known to have played the $300k buy-in Super High Roller Bowl at the Aria.
His guilty plea to reduced charges staves off an impending maximum 200 years imprisonment, with some expecting his actual sentence to be much less than the 22 years maximum he now faces.
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