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Pinay who stole $29,000 from gym faces jail term

28 May 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
The money stolen was fees paid by clients of Fitness First in Tower 535 in Wanchai

A young single mother who worked at a fitness center in Wanchai faces time in jail after admitting in Eastern court on May 28 that she stole nearly $29,000 in customers’ fees six months ago.

S.M.G., 31, who worked as a clerk at the Fitness First outlet at Tower 535 on Jaffe Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft before Magistrate Veronica Heung.
The counsel assigned to her by the Duty Lawyer Service pleaded for community service  so his client could continue working, but the magistrate turned down the request, saying that breach of trust called for immediate custodial sentence.

The Filipina, who had been on bail, was ordered by Heung to be detained pending sentencing on Jun 17, as the court awaits a background report.
S.M.G. admitted pocketing cash totaling $28,737.75 which she was supposed to deposit in the company’s bank account on two separate occasions in November last year.
The first batch of cash given her by the gym manager for deposit into the company’s account on Nov 6 last year totaled $11,450.27. Then, between Nov 13 and Nov 21, she was again asked to deposit $17,287.40 to the bank account.
But when the manager checked the bank statement, he was surprised to find out that no money had been deposited into the account.

The manager confronted the clerk about the missing money and she agreed to reimburse the company, but managed to pay back only $6,000.
On Apr 18 this year, she was intercepted at the Hong Kong International Airport and arrested.

In mitigation, the defense counsel said his client's family had left Hong Kong, and she was left behind to look after her daughter and pay off an $80,000 bank loan, of which she had already repaid $50,000.
She was working and earning $15,000 a month in her present job, the counsel said, requesting that the woman do community service instead. But the magistrate refused.
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