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World Poker Tour Champion Dennis Blieden Pleads Guilty After Embezzling $22 Million From Former Company

2018 LAPC Champion Pled Guilty To Wire Fraud And Identity Theft, Could Face Up To 22 Years Behind Bars

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A World Poker Tour champion could face up to 22 years in federal prison after entering two guilty pleas last Friday during a scheduled arraignment.

Dennis Blieden, who won the 2018 WPT LA Poker Classic main event for $1,000,000, was indicted last July on 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of identity theft and two counts of forfeiture. The 30-year-old Cincinnati resident pled guilty to wire fraud and identity theft at a federal court in Los Angeles.

The charges stem from Blieden’s time as the controller and vice president of accounting and finance for StyleHaul, a Los Angeles-based digital marketing company that represented ‘influencers’ on YouTube and Instagram. Blieden had control of the company’s finances and embezzled $22 million.

During his tenure, Blieden falsified wire transfers from Western Union to make it look like the money was being used to pay clients, but in reality, Blieden was keeping the money for himself.

According to the DOJ, Blieden wrote $1.2 million in personal checks to other poker players, wrote $1.1 million to pay off credit cards, and used another $8.4 million to buy cryptocurrency. The rest was used for personal expenditures, including his high-stakes gambling habits.

Blieden told Card Player last year that he had plans of buying into the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl.

Blieden was arrested in Las Vegas and extradited to Southern California. With the amount of money involved, Blieden was originally facing up to 200 years in prison on the 11 counts. Now, he is looking at a maximum of 22 years behind bars, but will likely serve much less time based on similar sentences in other cases of white-collar crime.