Poker Player Appears in Las Vegas Court After Posing as Millionaire to Steal $500,000 in Bitcoin

  • Filippos Liakounakos is facing numerous serious charges; the judge set his bail at $250,000
  • The 23-year-old posed as a business associate to get the victim to transfer $500,000 in Bitcoin
  • The prosecution wants further investigations into Liakounakos as there may be other victims
  • Liakounakos was tracked down after subsequently giving an email address to the victim
Bitcoin thief
A poker pro was in court this week after allegedly posing as a millionaire to scam $500,000 worth of Bitcoin from his victim. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Facing serious charges

A poker pro has appeared in a Las Vegas Court after allegedly posing as a millionaire and stealing $500,000 worth of Bitcoin. Filippos Liakounakos was hit with charges of theft of more than $100,000, a felony act involving transmission of computer data or electronic mail, and identity theft.

conducted in-depth research about Nevada-based millionaires before pulling off the scam

On Wednesday in a Las Vegas Justice Court, the judge set bail at $250,000 for the 23-year-old. In the hearing, details came to light that Liakounakos had conducted in-depth research about Nevada-based millionaires before pulling off the scam. The part-time poker player allegedly stole the Bitcoin from one of the wealthy individuals who he found through his research, while also stealing the identity of another high net worth individual.

Posing as an associate

The unnamed victim, a novice cryptocurrency trader, was approached on the Telegram messaging app by someone he thought was a business associate. Following a conversation, the victim agreed to transfer $500,000 worth of Bitcoin. The sum included a seller’s fee of $50,000. The next day, the victim got in touch with the real business associate who naturally knew nothing about the Bitcoin transfer. It then became clear that someone had stolen the business associate’s identity.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Liakounakos’s lawyer said that his client does not have a prior criminal record and is set to graduate from a university in the Miami area.

Speaking to local media, Clark County chief deputy district attorney Jim Sweetin said that the scam was “a very sophisticated, organized and thought out theft.” Sweetin also believes that Liakounakos might have carried out similar scams previously and that detectives should continue with their investigations.

Getting caught

Detectives tried tracing the Bitcoin following the November 2020 transfer, but the transactions were well-hidden. Liakounakos got in touch with the victim once more via Telegram in December 2020 in an attempt to get almost $1m more worth of Bitcoin. The scammer provided an email address, which gave detectives the ability to track him down.

According to the Liakounakos’ Hendon Mob page, he has cashed in just two live poker tournaments and appears to mainly play online.

It is not the first time that Liakounakos has faced serious accusations. Poker pro Dan Fleyshman previously accused him of scamming $600,000 from former WSOP Colossus winner Cord Garcia. There were also other allegations about his refusal to pay $12,500 to a private poker club.