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DH bites $1,100 bait, gets 2-week jail sentence

03 June 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic helper long suspected of stealing money from her employer’s wallet struck again on May 7, but this time she unwittingly took a $1,100 bait laid by her boss.

For that breach of trust, Nerissa de Vera, 37, was convicted and sentenced by Magistrate Jacky Ip in Eastern Court to two weeks in jail on May 19 after she pleaded guilty to a charge of theft.

De Vera wept quietly as the magistrate said, “By your own admission, I convict you as charged. This is a breach of trust case, a serious matter.”

A prosecution report read to the defendant said the employer, Chan Wai-long, had suspected for some time that the maid was stealing money from her.

So, on May 9, Chan took out three $1,000 and five $100 bank notes and photographed the bills with her phone. She put the money in a wallet in her bedroom and left for work.

Returning home in the evening, she checked her wallet and found that one $1,000 and one $100 bills were missing.  She asked De Vera about the money and the maid admitted she took it and beg forgiveness. The employer then called the police.

In mitigation, the duty lawyer assigned to defend De Vera said the helper, who was hired by Chan in June 2015, was very remorseful, and admitted the offense initially to her employer and subsequently to the police.

The lawyer said De Vera admitted she stole from Chan because she needed money for her children’s education back home and to support her mother, who was suffering from cancer. The counsel said the $1,100 would be returned to the owner.

“The offense is a breach of trust where immediate custodial sentence is called for,” Magistrate Ip said in sentencing.

“Taking into account the amount involved, the defendant’s clear record, her remorse and guilty plea at the first available occasion, I reduce her sentence by one-third to two weeks in jail,” he said.

Another Filipino, Carlos Belves, appeared in Eastern Court on May 19 on a charge of theft, but the duty lawyer assigned to him applied for a six-week adjournment for further legal advice and inquiry.

Magistrate Bina Chainrai adjourned the hearing to June 30 and ordered Belves remanded in custody as he had no bail application.

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