Norfolk finance director and gambling addict stole £1m from firm

Stephen Girling
Image caption Steve Girling admitted stealing more than £1m from his employer, Premier Education Group, between 2014 and 2017

A finance director who stole more than £1m from his employer to fund a luxury lifestyle and an online gambling habit has been jailed for four years.

Steve Girling, 36, admitted stealing from Norfolk firm Premier Education Group, between 2014 and 2017.

Girling, of Folgate Close in Costessey, was jailed by a judge at Norwich Crown Court after earlier admitting theft.

He spent up to £50,000 a day, playing on web slot machines and online roulette, the court heard.

Girling resigned “when matters blew up” and admitted the spending to his former employers.

As he sentenced him, Judge Stephen Holt told Girling the fact that “only half of the money [stolen] went on gambling speaks volumes to me”.

£500,000 ‘unaccounted for’

“For nearly a four-year period you stole over a million pounds from the company you worked for as finance director,” said Judge Holt.

“These thefts were skilfully planned and executed so the loss to the company wasn’t noticed and was passed by three separate audits.”

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said Girling moved money into his own account and hid this by “adjusting and fabricating” entries on spreadsheets provided to the board of directors.

Judge Holt said Girling spent £500,000 of the stolen money on gambling “but the other half is effectively unaccounted for”.

He said the defendant put money into his personal savings account, set up Isas for his children, moved to a larger house, paid off that mortgage “and possibly another mortgage”.

John Farmer, mitigating, said Girling – who has no previous convictions – had paid back £112,000 and more money will be recovered.

In a statement, Norfolk firm Premier Education Group said: “As the victim of such a crime it has clearly been a very difficult time for us all, but we are optimistic that we will recover the stolen funds.”


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