Dennis Blieden, a former executive at StyleHaul Inc., a marketing services, media, and technology firm that represents influencers on YouTube and Instagram, has been arrested for embezzling $22 million from the company. Blieden allegedly invested the money in bitcoin and other personal expenses, according to a press release on July 11, 2019.
StyleHaul Exec Arrested
Per sources close to the matter, Dennis Blieden, a 29-year-old resident of Nevada who functioned as the controller and vice president of accounting and finance for StyleHaul Inc., between 2015 and March 2019, has been taken into federal custody for embezzling $22 million from his former employer.
As stated in the press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, the indictment charges Blieden with 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and two forfeiture counts.
According to the indictment, Blieden abused his authority as a controller of StyleHaul’s bank accounts, to wire the company’s money to his personal bank accounts.
Blieden, a professional poker player and online gambler who has participated in and won several poker tournaments, allegedly used the stolen funds to write $1,204,000 in personal checks to poker players, $1,134,956 was used to offset his credit card debt, and $8,473,734 was used to buy bitcoin.
In a bid to conceal his fraudulent activities, Blieden allegedly created a fictitious lease earlier in May 2018 for the rental of a condominium which he claimed would accommodate StyleHaul’s clients and employees in Mexico’s Rosarito Beach, using the forged signature of a StyleHaul executive.
He also illicitly transferred the sum of $230,000 from the company’s account to his own and falsely claimed that he used the funds to settle the landlord of the condominium.
Blieden created fake wire transfer letters purportedly from Western Union to deceive the firm’s officials into believing that he had initiated wire transfers from StyleHaul to a client to “pay money due to the client.”
The court papers also have it that before Blieden’s dismissal from StyleHaul, he participated in two poker tournaments on February 21 and 22, 2019 and the “buy-in” amounts for the competition were $52,000 and $103,000 respectively.
If convicted of all charges, the authorities say Blieden would face a maximum sentence of over 200 years in federal prison.
In related news, BTCManager informed earlier in May that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (CFTC) had filed a lawsuit against Douglas Monahan, the owner of iBackPack of Texas, for illegally using investors’ funds to buy bitcoin and pay off credit card debts.