A man accused of embezzling money from a California company was indicted on July 11 by a federal grand jury. The man, Dennis Blieden, has become well-known in the poker field for his quick climb from unknown to superstar, but according to court papers, he may have used stolen money to help fund his rise.
Blieden allegedly forged the signature of an executive at the company where he worked, StyleHaul, on a fake lease for a condominium in Mexico. He then transferred funds for his own use by claiming expenses on the condo from employees and company clients. Furthermore, he created fake wire transfer letters that appeared to be client payments. The press release from the Department of Justice says that he purchased cryptocurrency with the money he had embezzled and used it for online gambling. He reportedly wrote more than $1 million in personal checks to some other poker competitors, moved over $8 million into cryptocurrency accounts and paid more than $1 million in credit card bills with embezzled funds.
Blieden is facing two forfeiture charges, one charge of aggravated identity theft and 11 charges of wire fraud. The statutory maximum sentence if he is convicted on all 14 charges is over 200 years in prison.
Some people might think that embezzlement and other so-called "white-collar crimes" will not carry penalties as strict as violent crimes. However, the aforementioned case shows that this is not always true. Legal and other consequences of a conviction for embezzling money can be severe. However, an attorney might be able to help a client. If the client wishes to go to trial, an attorney could help plan a defense strategy. Another option might be a plea bargain, which can allow a defendant to face lighter penalties.