Gambling addict used stolen card for bets

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
The man appeared in Bunbury Magistrates Court on Thursday when he pleaded guilty to one count of stealing as a servant and two of gaining a benefit by fraud.
Camera IconThe man appeared in Bunbury Magistrates Court on Thursday when he pleaded guilty to one count of stealing as a servant and two of gaining a benefit by fraud. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

A Bunbury man who stole a company credit card before using it to place two online bets worth $1800 in the midst of his “pathological” gambling addiction has been granted a spent conviction.

The 24-year-old had been employed at Beaurepaires Tyres Bunbury for six months when on September 26 last year he took a photo of a credit before destroying and disposing of it.

The man then attached the card to an online betting account and made an $800 and $1000 bet.

He lost both bets.

The man appeared in Bunbury Magistrates Court on Thursday when he pleaded guilty to one count of stealing as a servant and two of gaining a benefit by fraud.

Defence lawyer Paul Chapman said the man had a gambling issue but had since received counselling, including an intervention program.

Mr Chapman said after losing his job, the man had tried to contact his former employer in a bid to pay back the money.

He said the man now had family support and alongside counselling, it was unlikely he would fall back into his gambling habit.

He also said despite one “blemish” – in which he was given a spent conviction in 2014 – the man had prior good character and any conviction would be “devastating” and “ruin” his career opportunities.

Police prosecutor Sgt Darren Clifton said a spent conviction was opposed due to the “quite calculated” and serious offending and given his previous opportunity.

Magistrate David MacLean agreed the offending was serious and said it was a major breach of trust.

“Employers must be able to trust that those that work for them are not going to steal,” Magistrate MacLean said.

He said that while a potential employer needed to know who they were hiring, he was satisfied the man was unlikely to offend again and gaining employment enhanced his rehabilitation.

He also said the man had indicated a level of insight and remorse.

The man was fined $2000 plus costs and ordered to pay $1800 in restitution.

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