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Filipina DH pleads guilty to stealing employer's jewelry worth $14.6 million

07 June 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Nones celebrating a  happy occasion before her arrest

A Filipina domestic helper has admitted stealing $14.6 million worth of jewelry, gold bars and other valuables from her wealthy employers in Deepwater Bay over a period of 14 months, from June 2018 to August 2019.

Carmelita G. Nones, who is married and hails from La Union, admitted all six theft charges filed against her when she appeared in Eastern Court today, Jun 7.

Her niece, Maricris G. Nones and her cousin, Cristina N. Alagna, also pleaded guilty to acting as Nones’ accomplices by handling the goods she stole. Maricris admitted four counts of handling stolen goods, and Alagna, six.

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All three were returned to custody until their sentencing at the Court of First Instance. Magistrate Daniel Tang set a transfer hearing of the case in Eastern Court on Jun 9. 

Under Hong Kong laws, the maximum sentence for theft is ten years in jail.

A fourth accused, Carmelita’s sister, Marina G. Biala, pleaded not guilty to a charge of handling stolen goods, so her case will be sent to the District Court for trial.

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Police said they found a bag with part of Carmelita’s loot in Biala’s bedroom during a search in her employer’s house. The bag had necklaces, bracelets, 14 pairs of earrings, and rings valued at more than $120,000 and other jewelry pieces valued at $3,000 each in the bag.

Right after the four defendants were called out to the courtroom today, their lawyers led by barrister Oliver Davies said defendants Nones, M. Nones and Alagna would plead guilty to the charges and Biala would not plead guilty.

Carmelita Nones admitted to stealing about 200 jewelry pieces, gold bars and some cash from her employers, New World Development executive director David Liang and his wife Helen Frances during six different periods.

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Between June 17 and July 27, 2018, she stole an assortment of jewelry including eight necklaces, seven bangles, 11 pairs of earrings, a single earring, 2 bracelets, a 50-gram gold bar and a 187-gram gold bar, 10 rings and 31 gold coins owned by Mrs Liang. The total value of the stolen goods was $6,028,000.

Some of the gold coins and gold bar recovered from a pawnshop

Between Jun 27 and Aug 11, 2019, she took two Piaget luxury watches valued at $100,000 each belonging to the Liang couple.

In the third charge which covers a period between June and December 2018, Nones stole a watch, a necklace, 2 bangles, 7 pairs of earrings, all valued at $6,800, belonging to Mrs Liang. They were recovered in a bag in Nones' room.

On Sept 5, 2019, Marina Galay Biala returned to Mrs Liang a bag that Nones had asked her to keep which contained 23 necklaces, 3 bracelets, 2 bangles, 11 pairs of earrings, 1 piece of earring, 11 pendants, 5 rings, 1 brooch, 3 watches, Chanel jewelry pieces valued at $120,000, various jewelry pieces valued at $3,000, and cash worth $4,000. The total value of the goods was $4,814,400.


Between Jun 3, 2018 and Feb 18, 2019, Nones took 6 necklaces, 9 bangles, 6 rings and 4 pairs of earrings, 2 bracelets and a pendant with a total value of $2,235,000. Between May 13 and Jun 2, 2018, she stole 3 bangles, 7 bracelets, 2 pairs of earrings, 3 single earrings, 1 pendant, 2 necklaces and 4 rings with a total value of $1,265,000 all belonging to Mrs Liang.

In all, the value of jewelry, gold bars and other ornaments that she stole was listed as  $14.6 million.

3 bangles, one diamond-studded, made up one batch

The jewelry, cash, gold bars and coins were stolen by Nones in six batches and disposed of mostly by her and with the help of Maricris and Alagna.

The evidence presented in court included 25 pawnshop receipts totaling $688,850 for the first batch of stolen items. The jewelry pieces were pawned by Nones herself.

The court was told Mrs Liang spent $891,160 to get back some of her jewelry, but not all were recovered.

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The second batch comprised the couple’s matching Piaget watches worth $200,000. The discovery that they were missing in September 2019 was what sparked the arrest and subsequent investigation into Nones’ thefts.

One diamond necklace valued at $750,000 that was discovered missing early in the investigation wasn’t recovered from pawnshops. And so were 9 earrings, a karat gold ring with diamond, 2 bangles, 5 rings and 1 bracelet. 


On Jun 19, 2019, a total of $2,235,500 worth of assorted jewelry were hocked at various pawnshops. Mrs Liang paid $342,124 to the pawnshops to recover her jewelry but some were not recovered.

Diamond-studded necklace redeemed by Liang for over $50k

The last batch taken by Nones was assorted jewelry worth $1,265,000 for which Mrs Liang paid the pawnshops $217,730 to recover.

M. Nones was responsible for pawning between Jun 3 and Nov 25, 2018 assorted stolen jewelry worth $2,110,000 owned by Mrs Liang for which the pawnshops paid her $222,250. Mrs Liang paid the pawnshops $316,514 for their recovery.

For her part, Alagna helped pawn $1,145,000 worth of the loot on five various occasions between May 13, 2018 and June 2, 2019. Mrs Liang spent $204,960 to recover them. 

According to a source close to Mrs Liang, the employer had kept most of the jewelry in a safe inside her bedroom, and was clueless as to how Carmelita managed to learn the combination to open the safe and steal the items.

The source also said the employer had asked investigators in the Philippines to check on Nones’ lifestyle, and received photos showing the helper had built two lavish houses in her hometown, and owned a number of vehicles.

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