March of 2018 was pretty exciting for Dennis Blieden as he was relatively unknown to the poker world before that month. However, he made a miraculous victory and managed to rise to the top by topping a filed of 493 tough entries and taking down the $10,000 buy-in WPT LA Poker Classic Main Event. He won more than $1 million and many players praised him for his outstanding performance. It has been 16 months since that event, and Dennis Blieden is all over the news once again. However, this time, the news is much worse than they were before.
On July 11, Blieden was indicted for the embezzlement of $22 million by a federal grand jury. He was accused of embezzling that sum from SyleHaul, which was his former employer. There, Blieden had the role of controller and vice president of accounting and finance. Having such a position, Blieden had access to the company’s finances which he allegedly used in order to transfer funds for his private use. He used the money for various poker buy-ins and other gambling activities. The entire process lasted for almost four years — it started in October 2015 and ended in March 2019.
A federal grand jury returned the indictment on Tuesday and it was unsealed on Thursday. In it, there are a total of 11 wire fraud charges, a charge of aggravated identity theft, and two charges of forfeiture — all of them against Dennis Blieden. According to the press release that was published on Justice’s US Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California, Blieden recently made his first appearance at US District Court in Las Vegas. The entire case is prosecuted by Valerie L. Makarewicz, who works as Assistant United States Attorney. She is accompanied by FBI investigation.
What Happened with Blieden?
Blieden was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but moved to Southern California to live with his friends as soon as he finished college. He then moved to Santa Monica, Califonia where he was working at StyleHaul, which was a digital marketing company. According to the Department of Justice, at the time Blieden was arrested, he was residing in the state of Nevada. That happened on July 10.
DOJ press release also stated that Blieden “engaged in online gambling with cryptocurrencies.” He used the money he had embezzled in order to buy cryptocurrencies and use them for online gambling. Furthermore, DOJ reports stated that Blieden wrote a total of $1,204,000 in checks which were given to poker players. Finally, he used $1,134,956 for credit card payments and transferred a total of $8,473,734 to various digital currency accounts.
Sadly, Blieden did not stop there, as he made a fictitious rental lease for a condo located in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. This happened in May 2018 when he forged the signature of the executive of StyleHaul and falsely represented the condo’s expenses, which were $230,000.
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