May 11, 2022

Poker player charged in Las Vegas over alleged $500,000 bitcoin scam

A poker player was indicted in Las Vegas this week for allegedly defrauding a novice cryptocurrency trader for so much as $500,000 in 2020.

Monday, 23 years old Filippos Liakounakos was booked and faced three counts in Las Vegas courttheft over $100,000, obtaining or using another person’s identity to cause financial loss over $30,000, and an unlawful criminal act involving email or transmission of computer data, according to records judicial.

The crime

the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Tuesday that the victim, whose name is blacked out in an arrest warrant for Liakounakos, notified authorities in November 2020 that he was the victim of a bitcoin scam.

The victim told police he was approached by a business associate on the encrypted mobile chat app Telegram and agreed to a bitcoin transaction. The victim allegedly transferred $500,000 in bitcoins, including $50,000 in sales fees.

The following day, the victim contacted the associate to learn that he was unaware of the transaction and that the money had been sent to an impostor, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

In Liakounakos’ arrest warrant, a detective said he examined the transaction on the public blockchain “and observed that BTC (bitcoin) was moving rapidly in what is commonly known as ‘peeling’ to mask where BTC was headed.”

The following month, the victim was again contacted by the impostor, who offered him a bitcoin transaction of just under a million. The victim obtained an email from the impostor, which enabled the police to issue an arrest warrant for Liakounakos.

Accusations from the poker community

A few months before the victim informed the police about the bitcoin scam, a poker forum was discussing an alleged six-figure scam by a poker player named Filippos Liakounakos, described as “the tall young Greek who plays the PLO”.

In May 2020, Poker Fraud Alert founder Todd Wittelles posted a topic titled “Dan Fleyshman asserts that the winner of Colossus Cord Garcia was defrauded of $600,000 by Filippos Liakounakos.”

“Cord Garcia is best known for his 1st place finish in the WSOP Colossus event in 2015, for $638,000. I met him in 2018 at a $1,500 event in the Netherlands, and he was nice/ friendly. I liked the kid,” Witteles wrote in the thread, which includes an embedded tweet that has since been deleted.

“Anyway, this came out because Fleyshman decided to use the visibility of (Bill) Perkins’ drama to create some of his own for Fillipos. I don’t know if the claim is true, and Fleyshman is known for stretching the truth, but my gut feeling is that it’s true or almost true.”

Fleyshman is an entrepreneur and poker player who has won $770,281 in live tournaments.

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Other charges against Liakounakos are described in a June 2019 thread on Two plus two posted by “companion,” who accused the Greek player of owing $12,500 on the private club’s website kings club and refusal to pay. Liakounakos reportedly did not deny he owed money but said he felt cheated and therefore refused to pay, according to “companion”.

Liakounakos has a WSOP profile, which lists him as being from Greece and having 2020 cash GGPoker.com Event #84: $100 Million for the WSOPin which he finished in 1,195th place for $559.

Liakounakos had his first court appearance on Wednesday morning.

Photo courtesy of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department