Ex-teaching assistant jailed for stealing credit cards from colleagues and for cheating

A teaching assistant who stole the credit cards of her colleagues and went on a $15,520 spending spree was jailed for six weeks for theft and cheating.

Sri Devi Suppiah, 29, first filched the Citibank credit card of Ms Esther Toh Hui Ling sometime in August 2012. Both women were then working at St Joseph's Institution International at Thomson Road and Ms Toh had left her handbag unattended in the staff lounge of the school. In the next three weeks, Sri Devi used the card to purchase jewellery worth $3,700, a Samsung Tab, a watch and six Hindi and Tamil movie discs.

Then in January last year, she stole the American Express and POSB Everyday MasterCard credit cards of Ms Robin Balshaw-Raymaakers, a teacher Sri Devi was assisting at the Singapore American School in Woodlands. With these cards, she bought nearly $9,300 worth of gold jewellery, $150 of skincare products, and $150 of clothes and shoes. She even used the MasterCard to pay for a taxi ride.

Pleading for her to be placed on probation, defence counsel V. G. Sambandan said that his client had to resort to crime because of severe financial hardship after her husband had to quit his job because of a spinal injury. She had pawned the jewellery for money for the family, he added. She has two children, aged nine and three years old.

In reply, Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Sng pointed out that Sri Devi had used the stolen credit cards also for clothes for herself.

When sentencing her, District Judge Liew Thiam Leng said that in view of the seriousness of the offences, probation was inappropriate and a short jail term was called for.

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