British Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing £1m from Employer to Fund Gambling Habit

A man in the UK has pleaded guilty after stealing £1 million ($1.26 million) from his employer to fund his gambling addiction, according to a report.

Steve Girling, from Norwich, reportedly stole the money from his previous employer to continue his gambling habit that went on for more than three years.

Abused position of trust

According to a report from ITV News, Girling who was in charge of the company accounts, was transferring the money from the business to his own account. Since admitting to the theft, he faces up to five years in jail. During the time he was using company money to fund his gambling habit, Girling explained that he would play £100 a spin, spinning every few seconds.

He said: “Some days I’d do five figures on the slots. I was playing as soon as I woke up in the morning – any spare time. I was neglecting everything really, friends and family. I had suicidal thoughts. I’d self-harmed and overdosed. The pain was awful and there were times when I thought it was better that I wasn’t here.”

As Girling continued to spend the company’s money, the betting firms he was using were rewarding him. In one instance, Girling and his wife Rashael were treated to a horse racing trip. However, in February police eventually arrived at their home, who arrested Girling and took him away to the police station.

Girling states that he hasn’t gambled since. Now training as a life coach, he works with charities to try and help other problem gamblers. According to him, it’s a “silent addiction”.

He added :”You can do it on your phone all day every day. You could quite easily walk past someone in the street who has it. It’s dreadful and it destroys yours and others’ lives. It’s dreadful and I want to try and help as many others as I can.”

Not the first time, not likely the last

This, unfortunately, isn’t a novel case.

Earlier this month, it was reported that two nuns had stolen $500,000 (£395,000) from a Catholic school in California. The pair in question then proceeded to travel to Las Vegas for weekends away over a 10-year period. However, in this instance, it appears that the church isn’t pressing charges.

According to the report, the two nuns stole the money from tuition fees and school donations from St. James School in Torrance, near Los Angeles. The report notes that the pair would put their weekends away down to “rich relatives”. The alleged theft was discovered after one of the nuns, who was the school’s principal, left. The audit is a normal procedure after the departure of a principal.

Back in September, a Card Player magazine employee, known in the poker world as Anna McCann, was charged with embezzling around $1.1 million (870,000) during her employer. Between 2011 and 2016, she was the magazine’s financial controller. She was arrested in May in Hawaii and charged at the end of August.

In April, a 79-year-old man from Michigan received five years of probation, fines and a restitution order for embezzling around $37,000 (29,200) from his church’s charity-poker profits over a two-year period. It was reported at the time that the man was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), who suspected illegal activities relating to the state’s charitable-gaming offerings.

These are just a few instances where people in a position of trust have stolen money from those around them, and all to continue the funding of their gambling habits.

Yet, with gambling becoming a serious problem for many gamblers worldwide these are unlikely to be the last such incidents.