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

Posted on: June 10, 2021, 05:04h. 

Previous up-to-date on: June 10, 2021, 05:40h.

Poker participant Dennis Blieden, 31, was sentenced to 79 months in prison on Wednesday for embezzling $22 million from a electronic internet marketing and expertise agency that seemed immediately after social media influencers.

Dennis Blieden
Dennis Blieden craved validation from the poker gamers he had idolized on Tv. He blamed his crimes on his gambling and amphetamine addiction. (Graphic: NYC Poker Tour)

In February 2018, the Cincinnati native won the Globe Poker Tour’s LA Poker Traditional for $1 million. But those people winnings were being just a drop in the ocean in comparison with the money he had by now stolen from his employer, Hollywood-centered StyleHaul Inc.

Blieden was the VP of accounting and finance for StyleHaul from Oct 2019 and experienced command of its lender accounts. According to an inner SyleHaul memo submitted by prosecutors, in 2017 alone he embezzled $15 million.

He did this by wiring hard cash to his private account, while producing phony accounting data and bogus Western Union letters so it would seem funds was going to consumers.

Phony Life-style

Prosecutors stated this authorized him to reside out a fantasy elite-poker life style, entering the most significant tournaments, actively playing in the biggest hard cash game titles, and rubbing shoulders with players he’d beforehand only idolized on Television.

And he curried favor with his new mates 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 dollars in cryptocurrency, which accrued worth. But this was not enough to offset the revenue he shed gambling on online poker and slots, as nicely on the live poker circuit.

An inner StyleHaul investigation in 2019 uncovered Blieden’s transgressions. In an job interview in March that yr with fellow company executives, he lied when questioned how significantly was left of the sum he had stolen.

He said he experienced all over $50,000 in his private accounts and some cryptocurrency in numerous e-wallets.

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

StyleHaul Collapse

StyleHaul could not endure Blieden’s economic abuse. The business when experienced 5,000 electronic influencers on its books, which includes YouTube and Instgram stars Zoella, Joey Graceffa, and Dulce Candy, and claimed to make 2.5 billion views per thirty day period.

It initially planned to shut its US functions and relocate to London, but it folded for superior in May 2019.

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

Adhering to his WPT earn, he claimed he was “outwardly validated inside the poker neighborhood and from my friends as becoming a skilled gambler, so I did all the things I could to preserve that standing alive.

“I was chasing my financial debt, but also making an attempt to preserve up with a lifestyle that was a lie,” he confessed.