Poker player arrested for $500k bitcoin scam

Jon Pill
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Posted on: March 30, 2022 10:49 pm EDT

Filippos Liakounakos, an up-and-coming pot-limit Omaha player, was arrested on Monday on charges of unlawful felony act involving electronic mail or transmission of computer data, using another person’s identity to cause a financial loss, and theft of more than $100,000.

The arrest documents allege that Liakounakas was responsible for scamming $500,000 from a “novice cryptocurrency trader.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the victim (whose name was redacted from the arrest warrant and court documents) reported the crime in November 2020. The victim reported that he had been contacted on Telegram by an account posing as a business associate. Through the Telegram app, they arranged the transfer of $500,000 worth of bitcoin.

When the victim contacted his business partner outside the app, the partner expressed surprise.

The police reported the blockchain showed the monies being rapidly transferred from account to account — a money laundering process known as peeling.

The arrest was one of several poker players who have been brought in on surprising charges in the last year.

Arrest and hearing

Liakounakos is 23 years old, but apparently with the wisdom of a much younger man.

According to the police, a year after they opened their investigation into the first scam. The scammer contacted the unnamed victim a second time. This time the scammer was looking to make a $999,900 transfer.

Instead, the victim wrangled an email address out of the perpetrator which allowed officers to track Liakounakos down.

Liakounakos appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court today.

Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jim Sweetin said of the crime, “This is a very sophisticated, organized, and thought-out theft that we have here […] There is probably a lot of money floating around here. The defendant is charged with very serious crimes [and he] has a great motivation to flee and the state would submit he has the demonstrated ability to assume other identities.”

Liakounakos’s defense attorney, Josh Tomsheck, tried for a reduced bail on the grounds that this was Liakounakos’s first brush with the law and support from his family.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum cited concerns about Liakounakos’s “lack of ties to the community,” before setting bail at either $250,000 or $100,000 with electronic monitoring.

Featured image source: Flickr by Ivan Radic, used under CC License