SINGAPORE — A domestic helper tasked to buy breakfast for herself and her employer’s elderly father who was undergoing dialysis treatment took the man's POSB ATM card to steal his money.
Over 12 occasions, Patmawati Daun Kuri withdrew $6,000, using a PIN code which she had previously seen.
The Indonesian maid was jailed for four months on Wednesday (5 January) after pleading guilty to one count of theft. Another similar count was taken into consideration for her sentencing.
Patmawati was employed by the 79-year-old victim’s daughter in May 2019 to care for the victim’s daily needs. She was also tasked with accompanying him to his dialysis appointments at a hospital.
From 4 January to 28 June last year, while the elderly man underwent treatment, he asked Patmawati to take some cash from his wallet to buy from breakfast for both of them.
Patmawati took the money, but she pocketed the victim’s POSB ATM card from his wallet and went to an ATM machine to make unauthorised withdrawals.
Over 12 occasions, she withdrew $6,000, applying a PIN code which she had previously witnessed being keyed in. CCTV footage of the ATM captured Patmawati’s face.
On 4 July 2021 last year, the victim’s daughter lodged a police report after her father had discovered unauthorised cash withdrawals from his POSB bank account after checking his POSB passbook.
Patmawati did not make any restitution.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Cheah Wenjie sought at least four months’ jail for the victim, who had held a position of trust which she betrayed for her own financial benefit.
The DPP said that the maid’s plea of guilt should be given little consideration, as she had been caught on CCTV cameras. Further, she had initially denied the offences to the police and confessed only after being confronted with objective evidence.
DPP Cheah added that the maid’s alleged difficult personal circumstances should be taken “in circumspection” as Patmawati had given differing accounts on which family member had died in her home country. Investigators were also unable to prove that the funds she had stolen were remitted to Indonesia.
The maid’s pro bono lawyer said that Patmawati had a three-year-old son to care for in Indonesia.
District Judge Wong Li Tein noted that the maid had only pleaded guilty after being confronted by CCTV evidence, which was akin to her being caught red-handed. As such her plea of guilty was of “low value”.
The maid had taken advantage of a vulnerable victim over a period of time, she added.
For theft, Patmawati could have been jailed up to three years, or fined, or both.
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