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Filipina maid in $14.6 million jewelry theft, 3 others formally charged

24 August 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao
The  theft case will be moved to the High Court because of the huge amount involved
A Filipina domestic helper who is the main suspect in a $14.6 million jewelry theft in her employer’s house in Deepwater Bay appeared in Eastern Court today, Aug 24, pending the transfer of her case to the High Court.

Carmelita G. Nones, 45, was charged with six counts of theft involving about 200 jewelry pieces, watches and gold bars from the house of her employer, former New World Development executive director David Liang.

Two of her relatives and a third Filipina were also charged in two separate cases of handling stolen goods, allegedly for helping Nones hide and hock her loot at various Hong Kong pawnshops.
No plea was taken from any of the defendants, and they were all remanded in custody. The prosecution said it would prepare the documents for the consolidation of the cases and their transfer to the High Court.

Magistrate Stephanie Tsui ordered the charges read to defendants individually: first, to Nones; then her niece, Maricris G. Nones who faces five counts of handling stolen goods; and then her friend Cristina Alagna, who is charged with seven counts of handling.

Last to be called was Marina G. Biala, said to be Nones’ sister, who was charged with one count of handling stolen goods, though the particulars of her case were not read out due to lack of time.
A gold Piaget watch like this one opened the lid to the alleged multi-million dollar theft

The alleged theft, the biggest ever involving a Filipino domestic helper, was reportedly discovered on Sept 4 last year when Liang reportedly looked for his gold Piaget watch worth $100,000 that he had left in his bathroom for some time.
Afterwards, a matching Piaget watch belonging to Liang’s wife, Helen Frances Liang,  was also found missing. Nones allegedly admitted taking both watches.

Nones was arrested and initially charged with stealing the two watches worth a total of $200,000 between Jul 27 and Aug 11 this year. 

But as the Liangs began an inventory of their jewelry and ornaments collection, they discovered that a lot more items were missing.
The thefts allegedly happened over a 15-month period, from May 13, 2018 to August 11, 2019.

Nones’ alleged initial haul was itemized in charge no. 6. They included three bangles, three bracelets, two pairs of earrings, two necklaces and four rings belonging to Mrs Liang.

The names of Maricris and Cristina reportedly appeared in the pawnshop receipts for the stolen jewelry, resulting in the filing of charges against them.

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The prosecution accused the pair of receiving the goods and pawning them for Nones despite knowing that they were stolen from the employer.

A separate haul of stolen jewelry pieces was reportedly found in a bag that Biala had been keeping for Nones.

Biala offered to post a $6,000 bail, and said she could stay in her employer’s house, but Magistrate Tsui rejected her application, saying she has no local ties and might abscond.

The magistrate also said the amount involved was huge, the case was very serious and the evidence was strong.

Tsui adjourned all three cases until Nov 9, when they will all be officially moved to the High Court.

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