Man jailed for stealing to fuel gambling addiction

By Liz Mellino

A man has been jailed for stealing a total of more than $145000 from five separate employers to fuel his gambling addiction.

Andrew Edward Bulman, 56, was sentenced yesterday in Shepparton County Court to 10 months in jail, after pleading guilty to five charges of theft.

The court heard he stole a total of $146609 across an 18-month period, including more than $96000 from one particular employer, the Caltex service station in Heathcote.

He stole smaller amounts from Total Tools in Shepparton, Tasman Meats in Brooklyn (near Melbourne), Anaconda in Highett (near Melbourne) and the Reject Shop in Seymour.

During the time of his offending, between January 6, 2017, and July 18 last year Bulman was employed in various managerial positions across the state that involved him directly handling cash.

The court heard Bulman would take the money by banking daily deposits that were less the total takings and keeping the balance.

Judge William Stuart acknowledged Bulman’s strong work ethic before his convictions, including working for Bunnings as a complex manager for 15 years.

Bulman developed a gambling addiction in 2015, which Judge Stuart said fuelled his ongoing theft.

This activity continued after he was interviewed at Shepparton police station on May 16, 2017, for stealing money from Total Tools in Shepparton.

‘‘On each occasion you were in a position of trust and on each occasion you grossly abused that position of trust — your offending stopped only because of your detection,’’ Judge Stuart said.

In sentencing, Judge Stuart said he took into account Bulman’s guilty confession at the earliest opportunity.

‘‘You have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, as is well understood by me offending of this kind is difficult to detect, difficult to investigate and involves potentially lengthy trials,’’ he said.

‘‘You were entirely frank and confessional during your interview with police in relation to these matters.’’

Judge Stuart also acknowledged a number of ‘‘warning signs’’ Bulman had received while offending, saying his actions continued, despite being well aware of his wrongdoing.

‘‘There is no circumstance in this case which would warrant me moderating the sentence because of a reduced moral culpability, you knew precisely what you were doing,’’ he said.

‘‘You knew you should stop and you were given a number of warnings.’’

On release, Bulman will serve a three-year community corrections order, including supervision, along with 300 hours of community work and attendance at programs that address his issues of re-offending.

During this time Bulman must not attend any venue where there are poker machines.

If you are seeking support for a gambling problem, phone Gamblers Helpline on 1800858858.