A former executive at a marketing firm representing influencers on YouTube and Instagram pleaded guilty to embezzling $22 million from the company, according to a Justice Department press release. As former vice president of accounting and finance at Los Angeles-based StyleHaul, Dennis Blieden had control over the company's bank accounts. Prosecutors say he wired company money to his own personal bank account and concealed the transfers in a myriad of ways—including the creation of fake payments to StyleHaul clients and making up a condo lease in Mexico under another executive's name. The money was used for Blieden's online crypto-currency gambling habit, poker-related expenses, and other items. In total, Blieden transferred over $8 million into his crypto-currency accounts. He also spent over $1 million of the embezzled funds to write personal checks to poker players, and another $1 million to pay off his credit cards, prosecutors said. Blieden was dismissed from the company earlier this year, and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. The company shut down its U.S. operation in March.
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