Firm’s CFO stole £1million from employers to fund online gambling addiction
A firm’s chief finance officer stole £1million from his employers to fund his secret online gambling addiction.
Steve Girling blew up to £50,000 a day in a three-year spree on web slots and roulette.
He hid the dark secret from his family by pre-tending to be hard at work in his home office – when really he was placing constant bets.
The dad of two was such a valued big spender that one firm of bookies flew him out on an all-expenses-paid horse racing jaunt to see the Dubai World Cup.
Wife Rashael went too and he kept up his lies by telling her he won the trip in a competition. He was finally arrested after confessing to her – and she told his bosses.
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Girling, 36, pleaded guilty at Norwich Crown Court to theft from Premier Education Group and faces being jailed for up to five years.
“I’m so ashamed and deserve punishment,” he told the Sunday People. “When I printed my bank statements and added up the total I’d stolen, I had to run to the toilet and be sick.”
He claims the temptation to try web casinos started with a promotional offer of free spins. “After a first win you play on, trying to get that feeling back,” he said. “But you never can.”
Girling said he did not want to recoup his losses by using the family savings in case his wife found out, so he began stealing from his company, which has now fired him. “I knew I was doing wrong and felt dreadful but I desperately needed to carry on playing,” he said.
Girling, of Costessey, Norfolk, accepted all blame for his actions but added: “I feel bookies should have a better duty of care to customers. It must have been clear to them I had a gambling problem yet no one asked if I was OK.”
Despite his betrayal, loyal Rashael, 41, has vowed she will be waiting for him when he gets out of prison. “She’s amazing and recognises my gambling was an illness,” he said.
Girling has paid back £112,000 and is selling his home to repay more. He says his family and the charity GamCare have helped him to avoid gambling for a year and he now wants to educate others about the pitfalls.
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