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Maid fined $2k and ordered to return $5k left in ATM

29 October 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The helper admitted taking $5,000 left in an ATM by a bank customer

A 50-year-old Filipino maid who stole $5,000 left by its owner in an ATM machine in Aberdeen last December was fined $2,000 and ordered to return the victim’s money after she admitted the offense on Wednesday, Oct 28, in Eastern Court.

The maid, D.J. Ellarda, pleaded guilty to theft when she appeared before Magistrate Bina Chainrai.

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She was arrested on Aug 21 after an eight-month-long tracking by the police.

The theft took place around 3:38pm on Dec 23 last year after Chinese housewife Irene Lo, 63, withdrew $5,000 cash from an HSBC ATM booth on the first floor of Aberdeen Centre on Chengtu Road, Aberdeen.   

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After taking back her ATM card, Lo left without taking the money from the machine. She returned after realizing her negligence, but the money was gone.

The victim enquired with the bank and its staff confirmed that the transaction had been completed. She then reported to the police.

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A police review of the CCTV footage showed the victim withdrawing the money at the ATM while the defendant was right behind her, waiting for her turn.

After Lo left, the defendant tried to withdraw cash but could not insert her ATM card into the machine and found out the victim’s money was still in the cash dispenser.

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First, the defendant hesitated. Then she pulled out Lo’s cash and withdrew her own money. When she was done, she left taking Lo’s money as well.

Police reviewed the ATM transaction record and found out the defendant’s bank account number and her name. She was later traced to her employer’s house, where she was arrested.

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The prosecution said the defendant admitted the offense during investigation and offered to give the victim the $5,000 that she lost.

In mitigation, the defense lawyer said his client was remorseful, admitted the offense at the earliest opportunity and was willing to compensate the victim. 

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