An Indonesian maid who stole valuables worth more than $40,000 from her celebrity hairstylist employer was sentenced to a year's jail yesterday.
Namih Nurlaela, 40, had been working for Mr Addy Lee, 46, the chairman and founder of Monsoon Group Holdings, for 14 years.
The court heard that Mr Lee, whose full name is Lee Eng Tat, travelled frequently for work and left his Oceanfront @ Sentosa Cove apartment in Namih's care. His personal assistant also lived with him.
Between February and May this year, Namih stole $42,034 worth of items from Mr Lee on four occasions, when he and his personal assistant were overseas. She pleaded guilty to two of the four theft charges.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ho Lian-Yi said Namih would steal when both her employer and his personal assistant, known only as Mr Liu, were not at home.
She would contact M.A.N. International to deliver an empty box to the apartment, pack the stolen items into the box, and give it to the delivery firm to send to her Indonesian address. Of the four boxes shipped to Indonesia, three were delivered to her family.
After the offences came to light, Namih asked her daughter to send the contents back, but not all the items could be recovered as some had been sold.
Mr Lee asked the delivery firm to return the fourth box to him.
Only $28,350 worth of goods were recovered.
Mr Ho said Namih stole $28,208 worth of items in February, including a brown Hermes Kelly bag and a black Birkin bag, four pairs of shoes and a mobile phone.
Two months later, she stole items with a value of $6,048, including a piece of Louis Vuitton luggage.
On June 11, Mr Lee discovered that two bags - each worth about $13,000 to $14,000 - were missing, and called the police.
Namih at first denied stealing but confessed a few hours later, after she was taken to the Bukit Merah West Neighbourhood Police Centre.
The single mother of two children asked for a lenient sentence, saying she committed the offences as she needed money to pay for her mother's medical fees. She said it was "unfortunate" that she committed the crime and that she did her best during her employment.
Namih promised never to repeat her mistake.
She could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for each count of theft as a servant.