SINGAPORE — When confronted about cash that was missing from her employer’s home, a domestic helper panicked and threw a bundle of them out of the condominium unit's window.
The bundle of $50 notes fell to the ground beside a swimming pool where it was found by one of the condominium’s residents.
Aryani, a 25-year-old Indonesian who only goes by one name, was jailed eight months on Tuesday (5 October) after pleading guilty to one count of committing theft as a servant in the property of her employer, a Singapore permanent resident who operated a food-and-beverage stall at Serangoon North Avenue 5 with her husband.
One charge of removing $3,000 in cash from the jurisdiction of Singapore was considered for her sentencing.
The married couple would consolidate their weekly earnings in plastic bags before bringing them home. Each plastic bag would contain a sales report detailing the cash amount and the sales period.
The bags would then be kept at the staircase in the condo unit or outside a safe in the office upstairs. Both areas were accessible to Aryani.
While the victim would deposit the cash earnings in a bank, she stopped doing so since April last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stole 4 bags containing money from April to July 2021
Across four occasions from April to 29 July this year, Aryani stole four of the bags containing a total of $11,635.50 from the condo unit. She also stole $200 from the victim’s wallet in her handbag in March.
Aryani spent the loot on luxury items for herself, such as clothes, bags, shoes and an iPhone 12 Pro 128 GB. She also $3,000 to her own bank account in Indonesia via Western Union.
On 29 July, the victim started counting the bags of cash and noticed that there were four bags missing. She told her husband but did not confront Aryani, as she thought that they may have misplaced the bags.
The next day, the victim searched the unit and their car but was still unable to find the missing cash. The couple then questioned Aryani, who repeatedly denied taking the money.
On 2 August, the couple lodged a police report. That same day, Aryani threw a bundle of cash containing $2,650 out of the window when she found out that her employer was going to make a police report. She was afraid that they would discover the stolen money.
The money fell to the floor beside a swimming pool and was noticed by a resident at about 6pm. The resident retrieved the bundle and found a bunch of $50 notes tied together with a Western Union remittance note.
The resident turned over the bundle to the management office and it was later handed over to the police.
Request for only one month's jail rejected by judge
While Aryani has not made restitution, she said that she was willing to let the victim keep $2,272.39 of her salary, as well as the seized iPhone 12 Pro, which is valued at $1,290, as restitution.
In mitigation, the maid asked for a lighter sentence as she needed a new job to support her siblings and pay for her mother’s medical expenses.
After she was sentenced to eight months’ jail, Aryani asked the judge to jail her for only one month but this was rejected by the judge.
For theft as a servant, Aryani could have been jailed up to seven years and fined.
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