Accused gambled with stolen money
A 23-year-old Japanese man has been jailed after stealing AU$140,000 (£75,400; $96,300) from his employer before gambling it at an Australian casino.
Last October, cash-strapped Takuro Yanagida acquired the key to a locked suitcase belonging to his boss, Mr Kotani, and helped himself to the money inside it.
Yanagida, who had developed a gambling habit prior to his trip to Melbourne, has already served 207 days in pre-sentence detention.
After stealing Mr Kotani’s money, Yanagida then proceeded to the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, where he gambled and lost the entire sum in the span of four hours, reports ABC News.
Yanagida, who had developed a gambling habit prior to his trip to Melbourne, has already served 207 days in pre-sentence detention. County Court judge Robert Dyer described him as “naive, amateurish and unsophisticated.”
Yanagida will need to serve another month before he is released and deported to Japan. In total, he will have been detained for eight months.
Defendant denies involvement
After losing the money in what Judge Dyer described as a “panic-driven, opportunistic crime”, Yanagida initially denied his involvement. It was only when Crown Casino staff identified him that he came clean.
At the sentencing, Judge Dyer told Yanagida
Your offending may have been initiated by a naive belief that you could use Mr Kotani’s money to win at the casino and pay off your financial situation.”
Judge Dyer further added that “The loss of AU$140,000 has significantly impacted on his [Mr Kotani’s] business activities while in Australia.”
Following the conviction, Yanagida is facing a jail sentence and probable job loss, as well as repayment of his previous gambling debts upon release. It is currently not known whether he will have to repay the stolen sum of AU$140,000 to his boss.
Gambling addiction often silent problem
The Australian case is not an isolated phenomenon, with similar situations having been reported in both Great Britain and the US.
Known as a silent problem, gambling addiction often goes undetected for years. Some gamblers even seek out ways to keep gambling when they don’t have the money to do so. In some cases, this may involve using their employer’s finances.
One British man pleaded guilty after stealing £1m ($1.26m) from his employer to continue gambling. According to a report from December, Steve Girling would play £100 ($127) a spin on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), with spinning taking place every few seconds.
In another report, a CardPlayer magazine employee was charged with embezzling around $1.1m (£865,000) from her employer while serving as the company’s financial controller between 2011 and 2016. Meanwhile, in California, two nuns reportedly stole $500,000 (£392,000) from a Catholic school. The pair traveled to Las Vegas for gambling weekends away over a 10-year period before they were eventually found out.