Hollywood Crypto Embezzler and Other Crimes
Crypto has been involved in a few crimes recently, but not because of its anonymous nature. It actually seems like the money this industry attracts makes it a great target for fraud.
One man in the U.S. has just plead guilty to embezzling almost $22 million from his former employee. Dennis Blieden is a former executive at Hollywood-based digital marketing firm StyleHaul Inc. The company specializes in managing the business interests of social media influencers and learned more and more in court about how badly they had been defrauded by their former employee.
Blieden has been convicted of wire fraud and identity theft after he took a small fortune from his employer and used it to settle gambling debts and buy cryptocurrency (that he also gambled with). He was the Vice President of Accounting and Finance at StyleHaul Inc. and this gave him the required access to the firm’s bank accounts that enabled him to steal all this money.
Apparently, from October 2015 to March 2019, Blieden was taking this money and writing personal checks to poker players, as well as paying off his own credit card debts and purchasing more cryptocurrency. This required him to falsify his illegal wire transfers as authorized payments to clients and other crafty accounting moves.
After being caught, Blieden has plead guilty and is facing a sentence of 22 years in federal prison. Sentencing will be done in March 2020, but things are not looking good for the sneaky accountant.
Crypto Investment Fraud
Other fraudulent cases have also been uncovered recently, such as Jon Barry Thompson’s false representation of Bitcoin purchases to clients. This allowed him to steal money without actually making the purchases, a common move with volatile assets like cryptocurrencies.
Most of these cases are not less of an issue with the cryptocurrency and more to do with how we approach emerging assets as a society. It is common for people to throw money into these investments without fully understanding what they are or the risks they bear. Bitcoin may be the most talked about cryptocurrency, but the volatility applies to other cryptocurrencies and as market caps climb, we will probably see major losses on those altcoins as well.
From a more comical perspective, a Canadian Bitcoin ATM was recently robbed of $4,000. What makes this so hilarious is that the thieves failed to check the second cannister of the ATM and left behind $50,000. This November 20th robbery in Vernon, British Columbia seems to be riddled with mistakes, such as the thieves failing to cover up their license plates in the getaway. So even though Bitcoin may be the future, to these robbers, Bitcoin ATMs have ruined theirs.