Finance boss who stole £1m to fuel gambling addiction has amount he has to pay back cut

Steven Girling from Costessey was addicted to online gambling. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Steven Girling from Costessey was addicted to online gambling. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

A former finance officer, who stole £1m from his employer to fund his gambling addiction, has had the amount he has to pay back cut by £7,000 but he still has to hand over nearly £187,00.

Girling, 37, formerly of Folgate Close, Costessey, who worked at sport education firm Premier Education Group (PEG), siphoned off around £1,031,750 and was ordered at an earlier proceeds to crime hearing to sell his house and pay back £194,011, which would be paid as compensation to the company.

At a further hearing on Wednesday, the figure was corrected to £186,888 instead.

Girling, who is serving four years in prison for the offence, was not required to attend the hearing to vary the amount.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said that the new figure had been agreed with all parties.

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John Farmer appeared for Girling.

Judge Anthony Bate confirmed that the amount to be paid back as compensation was now £186,888.

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At his sentencing, the court heard how Girling gambled about £50,000 a day on slot machines and roulette and one night lost £18,000, but was awarded free VIP trips to Dubai, Ascot and Cheltenham.

The father-of-two did not reveal his addiction to his family until after he left the company in October 2017 when his theft came to light.

The court heard to avoid detection, he transferred money from the company’s account to his own account, which was masquerading as a franchisee’s account.

He also took charge of making payments which he diverted to his own account.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said that Girling found himself in a situation where he had the “keys to the sweet shop”.

Girling was arrested in February 2018 and was sentenced to four years in January, last year.

The sentencing judge described the thefts as skilled, professionally planned and executed.

In an interview with the Eastern Daily Press in December 2018, Girling spoke out about his shame for stealing and gambling the money away,

He said he hoped to turn his life around by educating others on the devastating impact of online gambling addiction.

He qualified as a life coach and said he wanted to use this negative part of his life to try to help others so they did not have to suffer the pain he had put other people through.

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