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Maid jailed for stealing almost S$12,000 from employer, threw S$2,650 out of window in panic

Maid jailed for stealing almost S$12,000 from employer, threw S$2,650 out of window in panic

File photo of Singapore dollars. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: A couple operating a food and beverage stall were unable to deposit their weekly cash earnings as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, so they kept the money at home.

However, their maid stole almost S$12,000 and spent it on luxury bags, clothes, shoes and an iPhone 12 for herself, remitting a portion home to Indonesia.

When she was confronted, she denied taking the money, but threw a bundle of notes worth S$2,650 out of the window in panic. The money was discovered by a woman swimming in a pool downstairs.

Indonesian national Aryani, who goes by one name, was sentenced to eight months' jail on Tuesday (Oct 5). She pleaded guilty from her place of remand to one count of theft by servant.

The court heard that Aryani worked for a woman and her husband at their condominium unit. The couple has been running a food and beverage stall in Serangoon since 2017, and would consolidate their weekly earnings in plastic bags before taking them home.

Each plastic bag contained a sales report setting out how much cash was inside, as well as the sales period. They kept the plastic bags of cash either at a staircase area inside their home, or outside a safe in their office upstairs.

Aryani had access to both these places. From time to time, Aryani's employer would deposit the cash earnings in the bank, but stopped doing so from April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In July 2021, the victim noticed four bags of cash earnings missing and told her husband about this. They did not confront Aryani, as they thought they merely misplaced the bags.

However, they were unable to find them and eventually questioned Aryani. She denied taking the money, and the couple eventually sought police assistance in August 2021.

Investigations revealed that Aryani took four of the bags containing a total of S$11,635.50 from the condominium unit from April 2021 to July 2021.

She also took S$200 from the victim's wallet in March 2021. In total, she stole S$11,835.50.

Aryani spent the money on luxury items such as shoes, clothes and bags, as well as an iPhone 12 Pro worth S$1,290. She also remitted S$3,000 to her bank account in Indonesia via Western Union.

On Aug 2, 2021, a woman was swimming in the pool at the condominium when she noticed a white bundle on the floor. She retrieved the bundle and saw that it was made up of S$50 notes tied together with a Western Union remittance note.

She turned the cash of S$2,650 in to the condominium management office, and it was handed over to the police. Investigations later revealed that Aryani had thrown the cash out of the window when she found out that her employers had lodged a police report, as she was afraid they would find out she had stolen the money.

She has not made any restitution to date, but has agreed to let her employers keep the iPhone 12 Pro, as well as the S$2,272 of her salary the victims are holding onto.

The prosecutor sought 10 months to 12 months' jail for Aryani, saying she had grossly abused her employers' trust in her and stole for greed.

Aryani asked for a lighter jail term, asking the judge for a month's jail even after the sentence was pronounced. She said she needed a new job to support her three schooling siblings and pay for her mother's medical expenses as she needs a blood transfusion every month. She added that her father was dead and she was the sole breadwinner for her family.

For theft by servant, she could have been jailed up to seven years and fined.

Source: CNA/ll

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