Maid jailed nine months for receiving stolen cash from online boyfriend

Shirley Navarrete Nalangan, 52, was jailed for nine months on Monday (June 12) after pleading guilty to dishonestly receiving stolen property, cash totalling $132,121.50, into her Singapore bank account.
Shirley Navarrete Nalangan, 52, was jailed for nine months on Monday (June 12) after pleading guilty to dishonestly receiving stolen property, cash totalling $132,121.50, into her Singapore bank account. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A Filipino maid was jailed for nine months on Monday (June 12) after pleading guilty to dishonestly receiving stolen property, cash totalling $132,121.50, into her Singapore bank account.

Shirley Navarrete Nalangan, 52, committed the offence on Jan 2, 2014.

One count of removing $4,000 in cash from the jurisdiction, by transferring it overseas via Western Union, was taken into consideration during sentencing.

Nalangan came to Singapore in 1990, and is single according to her Facebook profile.

In August 2012, she met a man, Mr Albert Analdez, through a dating website.

He is purportedly from Kentucky in the United States.

They entered into a relationship and her lawyer, Mr Ng Boon Gan, told District Judge Jasvender Kaur on Monday that they spoke to each other daily on "intimate topics".

Mr Ng, who represented his client pro-bono, added that they had even discussed marriage.

Sometime in October 2013, Mr Analdez asked for Nalangan's help to receive some funds.

He told her that the money was meant as payments to a financing company in Malaysia in order for him to get profits from a purported engineering project in which he was involved.

He also told her that after the money was deposited, she was supposed to withdraw the cash and hand it over to a staff member of the purported financing company.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Stacey Anne Fernandez said: "The accused was suspicious of the arrangement and asked Albert why the transfer could not be made directly to Malaysia.

"Albert neither provided the accused with the name of the finance company, not any satisfactory explanation on why the money needed to be transferred through her. Despite her suspicions, the accused agreed to assist Albert."

In December that year, Mr Analdez asked her to open an account with BNP Paribas to receive the money.

DPP Fernandez said: "The accused was suspicious on why she needed to open another bank account and after making enquiries with the bank, decided not to. The accused nevertheless agreed to received (the) money on Albert's behalf in (her) POSB account."

When Mr Analdez asked Nalangan how she would respond to the bank when questioned about the source of the money, she replied that she would lie to it and he agreed with her suggestion.

"At this point, the accused's suspicions were further heightened by Albert's unwillingness to be upfront with the bank about the true source of the money," said DPP Fernandez.

Despite these suspicions, Nalangan gave him details about her POSB account and she received $132,121.50 in it on Jan 2, 2014.

She later remitted $4,000 via Western Union to a woman known on Ms Razniati Mohd Radzi in Malaysia.

The court heard that the $132,121.50 had been transferred from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) account of one Mr Fahmi El Hosseny.

In December 2013, CIBC received several e-mails, purportedly from him, instructing it to perform a wire transfer of US$105,000 (S$$132,121.50) to Nalangan's account.

Believing it to be a genuine request from Mr El Hosseny, the bank transferred the money as instructed.

DPP Fernandez said: "(Mr El Hosseny) confirmed that he did not send CIBC any instructions to transfer money to the POSB account and his e-mail account had been compromised."

The Commercial Affairs Department in Singapore was alerted about the case on Jan 3, 2014 and officers later arrested Nalangan.

For dishonestly receiving stolen property, Nalangan could have been jailed up to five years and fined.