Maid gets 2½ years' jail for stealing $400k worth of jewellery

A maid who stole almost $400,000 worth of jewellery from her employer, then pawned them and blew the money in casinos, was jailed for 2½ years yesterday.

Mary Jane Importante Escalona, 48, who was working for Mr Jose Isidro Navato Camacho, 60, stole cash and jewellery at his unit at The Rochester in Rochester Drive between 2014 and October last year. Both are Philippine nationals.

Escalona, who faced 37 charges, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of theft as a servant.

A district court heard that the value of jewellery stolen ranged from US$3,000 (S$4,300) to US$100,000.

Escalona, who had worked for the family for six years, stole items such as gold diamond rings, gold rings with precious stones, and earrings from a bedroom drawer, and pawned them on the same day.

She gambled away the money in the casinos at Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands.

The remaining 25 charges, including theft of cash and Takashimaya shopping vouchers totalling about $19,000, were taken into consideration.

Mr Camacho reported the theft to the police on Oct 18 last year and said he could suspect only his maid.

The stolen jewellery amounted to about US$290,000. A US$5,000 gold bracelet was later found in her room.

Escalona's sentence was backdated to Oct 20 last year. She could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined on each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2016, with the headline 'Maid gets 21/2 years' jail for stealing $400k worth of jewellery'. Print Edition | Subscribe