Accountant Jailed for Stealing £400,000 to Fund Gambling Habit

A British accountant has been jailed for five years after stealing more than £400,000 ($503,000) from her employers over a seven-year period that was spent on gambling.

Kathleen Weir, 40, also known as Kathleen Griffin, is reported to have spent £1.2m ($1.5m) on online sports betting from 2009 to 2016, reports the BBC.

The report notes that six months into starting work with Elliotts, a builders’ merchant, as deputy head management accountant in the southern coastal city of Southampton, Weir started stealing from the company. It was only after 43 money transfers and 72 cheques had been cashed that the company noticed “irregularities”.

Abusing a position of trust

Following her arrest, Weir is reported to have tried to have taken her own life. Judge Christopher Parker QC, who gave the sentencing, said that she had “grievously abused” a position of trust, adding that “you were pilfering from and ransacking accounts for a period of seven years”.

News of Weir’s crime follows that of a report from last month of a British man pleading guilty to stealing £1m ($1.26m) from his employer to fund his gambling addiction.

Steve Girling, from Norwich, is reported to have stolen from his employer for more than three years. In charge of the company accounts, he was transferring the money from the business to his own account. The report notes that every few seconds he would play £100 a spin, with some days seeing him do five figures on the slots.

In a recent update to his sentencing, Girling has been sentenced to four years in prison, reports ITV News. Judge Stephen Holt, conducting the sentencing said: “For nearly a four-year period you stole over a million pounds from the company you worked for as finance director. These thefts were skilfully planned and executed so the loss to the company wasn’t noticed and was passed by three separate audits.”

The judge went on to say that around £500,000 ($627,000) was spent on gambling; however, the remaining amount “is effectively unaccounted for”. He said that some of this money was put into his personal savings account, used to set up ISAs for his children, and to move to a larger house, with two possible mortgages paid off.

Notably, the judge pointed out that while Girling said he was using the money to fund his gambling addiction, he managed to save more than £100,000 ($125,000) in his personal savings, which weren’t touched.

“People who really suffer from extreme gambling addictions tend to arrive here with nothing, only debts,” the judge said. “You arrived here with some considerable assets.”

Concern over unattended minors

In other news, it’s reported that there is a growing trend seen where children are being left inside vehicles unattended while parents are gambling inside casinos.

The report, from Boston 25 News, highlights 14 cases where children were left unattended at Twin River in Lincoln, Rhode Island, and Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Massachusetts, since 2016. Last August, Lincoln police arrested a 26-year-old woman after it was alleged that she had left her three-month-old baby outside Twin River.

The baby, who was in the car with the engine running and the window down, had been left unattended for 90 minutes.

In another case, a man was charged after leaving his four-year-old daughter locked in the car with the engine off.

According to KidsAndCars.org, an advocacy group that monitors cases nationwide, it noted that since 1999, there have been more than 300 reports of children left in cars unattended at casinos.

Laws in Massachusetts note that no one under the age of 21 can enter into a casino and if a child is left unattended outside a casino, those inside related to them may be charged with neglect and removed permanently from the building.

Casino operators in the state are also required to conduct regular parking lot checks to ensure minors aren’t left unattended in vehicles.