Gambler who stole $125,000 worth of casino chips spared jail

  • The 39-year old took the chips from Crown Casino in the heat of the moment
  • County court judge deems Akay a good candidate for rehabilitation

Gunawan Akay, a former Uber driver, has received some good news, as the Australian court decided he won’t be sent to jail after stealing $125,000 of casino chips from Crown Casino in Melbourne. Akay was caught on the CCTV camera taking chips off a baccarat table and was caught soon after leaving the venue. Left without too many options, the 39-year old Akay pleaded guilty and threw himself at the mercy of the court.

The judge decided Akay wasn’t beyond redemption and, after reviewing all the facts, concluded the rehabilitation program was the right answer for him, sentencing him to 150 hours of community work.

Extenuating circumstances and missing chips

Akay left the casino running and caught a cab to get home. However, he claims that he lost most of the 25 $5,000 chips he stole while running and that he got home with just three chips. Feeling bad about what he had done, he threw away the remaining chips as well.

The circumstances which led to the theft, which was described as a “foolish attempt“ by Mr. Akay’s attorney Ms. Kothrakis, were the main reason for the lenient court decision. Namely, the 39-year old and his girlfriend were in dire straits, without any disposable income and facing imminent eviction. Akay’s move was a desperate attempt to solve his problems.

Claire Quin, County Court Judge, took all of this under advisement when making her ruling. She emphasized that Gunawan Akay was under tremendous stress and when an opportunity presented itself, he panicked, grabbed the chips, and ran for the door. She also took into account the fact Akay immediately pleaded guilty when faced with the charges and expressed her belief he was a good candidate for rehabilitation.

Gambling taking its toll

Gunawan Akay arrived in Australia in 1997, at the age of 18. He came from Indonesia looking to make a better life for himself. After spending his time doing chores for various Australian families to make ends meet, he finally got the permanent residency.

In 2011, after getting a loan for an apartment, Akay decided to try and double up the amount in a casino, and that’s where all of his problems started, leading up to the events of December last year. However, according to the reports, he hasn’t gambled since the theft, so it seems that Mr. Akay might finally be on the right path to retake the control over his life.

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