Recent reports are alleging that a former executive may have stole around $22 million under the course of four years. Moreover, it is said that the man may have gone on to buy cryptocurrency and gamble for a significant portion of these funds.
“Influencer” executive embezzles $22 million from employer
Specifically, the man in question is 30-year old Dennis Blieden. Blieden is a former executive from the Hollywood-based digital “influencer” marketing firm StyleHaul. Now, the US Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California has announced that Blieden pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft and wire fraud.
Blieden was reportedly the controller and Vice President of Accounting and Finance at StyleHaul. According to the recent legal charges, Blieden went on to substantially abuse his control over the company’s bank accounts.
Moreover, Blieden’s plea account recounts that he sent money from StyleHaul’s accounts to his own personal bank account. Following this, Blieden took the stolen money in order to pay for personal expenses, as well as to fund his professional poker career.
This is where the story takes a cryptocurrency turn, however. In fact, Blieden admits to using cryptocurrency bought with the firm’s money in order to sustain his gambling habits. Although Blieden is now said to have taken a plea deal, he still faces a statutory maximum sentence of 22 years in a federal prison.
Blieden sent stolen money to cryptocurrency accounts
The court documents do not entirely detail all of Blieden’s cryptocurrency expenditures. However, it does mention that out of the $22 million stolen, $8.5 million is known to have gone to cryptocurrency accounts.
Additionally, Blieden also wrote personal checks to other poker players for over $1.2 million of the company’s money. Furthermore, he also paid off his credit cards with more than $1.1 million of the firm’s defunds.
The FBI is also currently investigating this blatant financial crime. However, the details of Blieden’s attempted coverup are also quite fascinating, and involve fictitious wire transfer letters:
“To conceal his scheme, Blieden made fraudulent entries in StyleHaul’s accounting records, falsely representing that the illegal wire transfers he made were authorized payments of money due to StyleHaul clients. Blieden also falsely indicated on one of StyleHaul’s bank accounts that wire transfers to Blieden’s personal bank account were “equity” draws that the company owed him. […] Blieden created fictitious wire transfer letters that purported to be from Western Union and were designed to make it appear that he had caused wire transfers from StyleHaul to pay money it purportedly owed to a client.”
Although the story is undoubtedly noteworthy, it is worth stating that Blieden’s crimes do not relate to cryptocurrencies. Rather than some articles covering this topic would have readers believe, it is naturally the act of actively stealing from an employer which has now led to his sentence.
Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.