5 weeks' jail for maid who stole over $7,200 from employer

SINGAPORE - A foreign domestic worker could not resist the temptation to steal from her employer when she saw a stack of US$100 (S$135) notes in his wallet.

Novita, who goes by one name, stole more than $7,200 from her employer of six years and refused to admit to the crime when he confronted her.

The 40-year-old Indonesian national was sentenced to five weeks' jail on Tuesday (Feb 22) after pleading guilty to one count of theft.

The court heard that Novita drew a monthly salary of $1,000 for doing general household chores. She had access to all the bedrooms in the flat in Tanjong Rhu Road.

On Jan 6, her employer, 46, returned from a trip to India and kept his Louis Vuitton sling bag on the top shelf of a wardrobe.

The bag contained his wallet, which had a hundred US$100 notes and other foreign currencies. It was secured with an external number combination lock.

On Jan 7, Novita's employer checked the bag before leaving for work and found that nothing was amiss.

The next day, however, he noticed that the bag was unlocked and 54 of the US$100 notes, amounting to more than $7,200, were missing.

As Novita was the only other person in the apartment, her employer confronted her about the missing cash. When she denied stealing from him, he called the police.

Novita later admitted to theft when interviewed by the police. Fifteen US$100 notes were found concealed among her clothing.

The recovered notes were returned to her employer but the rest remains missing.

Seeking five to six weeks' jail, State Prosecuting Officer A. Majeed Yosuff said Novita had abused the trust of her employer and made only partial restitution.

In mitigation, Novita pleaded for leniency, saying she has a family to support. "All my children are schooling and for six whole years of employment, I've done my best," she said.

The maximum penalty for theft is a three-year jail term and a fine.

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