Just when a Filipina helper in Singapore was about to take a flight home after her mother died, her employers discovered she has been stealing cash and other valuables.
According to Straits Times, while employer Lee Hooi Wen and her husband retrieved the passport of Filipina Michelle Maloom Abucay from a safe at home, both discovered that personal items and cash, with accumulated value of about SG$25,000 (P913,740) went missing.
The thefts were discovered on October 26, 2016, a day before Abucay was scheduled to fly home.
When Ms Lee’s husband opened the safe, he discovered an assortment of jewellery and some foreign currencies missing. After the wife was alerted, she searched her wardrobe in the master bedroom, and soon found out that a Louis Vuitton sling bag, five wallets, a black Chanel handbag, and a brown Coach bag, worth a total of SG$15,000 have also went missing.
When the couple failed to recover the lost items, they sought police assistance, and Abucay was arrested.
Investigations revealed that the helper started stealing the wallets and bags when she was alone at her employer’s home in Riviera Drive at Upper East Cost Road, in September 2016. Using a key she found in the wardrobe, Abucay opened the safe and took 2,000 Malaysian ringgit cash and gold jewelry.
She later passed the jewelry to another helper, and asked for help to sell the jewelry, claiming that they were gifts from her employer. However, as the items went unsold, Abucay kept them at home. They were later recovered, along with 1,400 Malaysian ringgit in cash.
In the first week of October, Abucay stole four gold items and two handbags from the safe and wardrobe respectively. She met another Filipino maid on her day off and, this time, her friend managed to sell the items for SG$2,300 at MoneyMax in Lucky Plaza.
The following week, Abucay stole more jewelry items from the safe, and hid them in a rice container in the kitchen.
Of the items stolen estimated at SG$25,384, cash and valuables amounting to SG$10,332 were not recovered.
Her lawyer, Criminal Legal Aid Scheme Fellow Sherrie Han, said in mitigation that Abucay was remorseful and had acted out of genuine financial hardship.
Ms Han added that when Abucay received the news that her mother died, she tried to return some of the items stolen from the safe as she no longer needed to pay for her mother’s medical treatment.
District Judge Low Wee Ping sentenced Abucay to eight months’ jail on three counts of theft as a servant. He backdated her sentence to March 30 and took into consideration four other charges.
Abucay could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined on each charge of theft as a servant.