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4 months' jail for maid who repeatedly stole from employer’s father as he underwent dialysis

SINGAPORE — A foreign domestic worker was jailed for four months on Wednesday (Jan 5) after stealing S$6,000 from her employer’s father.

4 months' jail for maid who repeatedly stole from employer’s father as he underwent dialysis

The court heard that Patmawati Daun Kuri took money from a man's bank account on 12 occasions without his knowledge.

SINGAPORE — A foreign domestic worker was jailed for four months on Wednesday (Jan 5) after stealing S$6,000 from her employer’s father.

While accompanying the older man to his regular dialysis appointments at the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital along Serangoon Road, Patmawati Daun Kuri took his bank card to make cash withdrawals when he handed her his wallet so that she could use his cash to buy breakfast for both of them.

The Indonesian worker did this on 12 occasions between Jan 4 and June 28 last year, withdrawing S$500 each time from the automated teller machine (ATM) without the consent of the man, now aged 79.

On Wednesday, she pleaded guilty to one amalgamated charge of theft, with another similar charge taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Cheah Wenjie said that Patmawati had memorised the man’s pin code for the bank card after having seen him use it before.

Patmawati was employed by the man’s daughter in May 2019 and her duties included taking care of the man's daily needs.

On July 4, Patmawati’s employer lodged a police report on behalf of her father after he discovered the unauthorised cash withdrawals when he checked his bank passbook.

During investigations, surveillance footage of the ATM clearly showed Patmawati making the transactions, DPP Cheah said.

He urged the court to be circumspect of Patmawati’s claim that she was in dire need of money to send back to her family in Indonesia.

He said that she had told conflicting accounts of which relative in her family had died. Investigators were also unable to substantiate that the money was remitted to Indonesia, he said.

Patmawati’s lawyer Tan Kah Tian, who was assigned to her via the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, asked for a lighter sentence, citing a High Court judgement that laid out the rule of thumb for a discount on sentences for those who plead guilty to their offences instead of claiming trial.

District Judge Wong Li Tien replied, however, that in this case, she had pleaded guilty only after she was confronted with the surveillance footage. 

“The fact that she was caught red-handed meant that her plea of guilt was of low (mitigating) value,” the judge said.

She added that Patmawati also cannot be treated as a first-time offender because she committed the theft 12 times and noted that this case was a clear abuse of trust of a vulnerable victim.

DPP Cheah said that the worker has yet to make restitution for the stolen sum, adding that the prosecution will not be calling for the court to issue a compensation order because she has no means of repaying.

Each count of theft carries a penalty of up to three years’ jail or a fine, or both. 

Related topics

court crime theft foreign domestic worker maid employer ATM

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