Photo credit: WPT
The trial of Dennis Blieden, a former vice president of finance for a digital marketing agency, has started. Blieden has allegedly embezzled $22 million worth of company funds.
Dennis Blieden Faces Prosecution over $22m
This is the story of Dennis Blieden, a one-time poker wonder who landed $1 million from his first serious live entry at the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic where he paid a $10,000 buy-in. Blieden, as it turns out, has scored other big wins in his personal life, but not necessarily legal ones.
On Thursday, July 11, a federal grand jury indicted Blieden on embezzling charges to the tune of $22 million. He stole the money from StyleHaul, a former employer during his stint as VP of Accounting and Finance.
According to the prosecutors and the cited evidence, Blieden had spent four years siphoning off funds from his company into personal accounts and used the proceedings to gamble. The fraud took place between October 2015 and March 2019.
As a result, Blieden is facing a slew of charges, including 11 counts of wire fraud as well as identity theft, forfeiture counts, and more. Blieden was present in court on Thursday with the FBI looking into Blieden and working with Assistant U.S. Attorney Valerie L. Makarewicz.
The Case Against Blieden Unfolds
Blieden’s gambling has taken significant dimensions. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Blieden engaged in various gambling activities, including crypto-currency gaming, which was fueled with his embezzled money.
He had estimated $8,473,734 in crypto currency, which he hoped at the time would not be identified by the authorities. Over $1 million has been given out in checks to pocker players and another $1 million went to pay credit cards.
Blieden forged signatures to rent a condominium in Rosarito Beach, Mexico for what appeared to be company clients and executives, but turned out to be his own personal needs – which served as the basis as his identity theft charge. The rental cost the company $230,000. This is just the beginning for him.
Placed in custody, Blieden may face up to 200 year if he is found guilty on all charges.
A Career That Never Was
Blieden had his moments when he won in the WPT Champions Cup back in 2018. The little-known Blieden went up head-to-head against Toby Lewis, a talented player with over $6.4 million in live earnings.
He also qualified for the $300,000 Aria Super High Roller Bowl but didn’t win anything out of the event. He also attended two US Poker Open events when he was fired from his VP position at StyleHaul in February.
Throughout his short career, Blieden has been playing aggressively, which could be a reflection of his character. He hasn’t won much apart from his $1 million from the L. A. Event, which goes to show that his aggressiveness was more of a fluke, and while he made headlines as a raising talent, his overconfidence hasn’t got him much farther.
A new hand has been dealt, though, and he will want to do his best to win this one – or he would end up in jail for the next 200 years.