SANTA MONICA—A former executive for a Hollywood marketing firm that serves Instagram and YouTube influencers has been charged by a federal grand jury. Officials announced Thursday, July 11, that the defendant has been charged for stealing millions from his employer and used the money on cryptocurrency investments and poker tournaments.
Dennis Blieden, 29, of Santa Monica, but now residing in Nevada, was apprehended on July 10 in Las Vegas. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced he is being charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and two forfeiture counts. Blieden is charged with embezzling more than $22 million from his employers.
Blieden controlled the firm’s bank accounts and was vice president of accounting and finance for StyleHaul. He allegedly wired money to his personal accounts during his occupancy from October 2015 to March 2019.
According to court documents, in February 2018, shortly before his dismissal from StyleHaul Inc., Blieden arrived to two poker tournaments with buy-ins at $52,000 and $103,000.
Blieden is charged with disguising his fraudulent behavior which included creating a fictitious lease in May 2018 for the rental of a condominium in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, which bore a forged signature of a StyleHaul executive.
The indictment further alleges that Blieden illicitly transferred $230,000 of StyleHaul’s funds for his own personal use by falsely representing that the condominium was being rented for business purposes for StyleHaul’s clients and employees. He created fictitious wire transfer letters purportedly from Western Union to make it falsely appear that he caused wire transfers from StyleHaul to a client to pay money due to the client, the indictment alleges.
If found guilty on all charges, Blieden could face a sentence of more than 200 years in prison. StyleHaul is no longer headquartered in Hollywood. The company relocated to London in April 2019.
Written By Tameara Lewis and Donald Roberts