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Filipina in jobs scam told to do community service & pay back $63k

16 June 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

File photo of Fernandez collecting payment for the bogus jobs 

A Filipina resident who admitted to nine charges of offering non-existent jobs in Hong Kong to at least 26 people between 2019 and 2020 escaped a jail sentence in Eastern Court today, Jun 16. 

Mila B. Fernandez, 45, was ordered to do 100 hours of supervised community service as her sentence for all the nine charges against her, and to pay back the $63,005 that she took from the job applicants, but on installment basis.

Magistrate Paul Yip imposed the sentence after Fernandez pleaded guilty on Jan 2 to nine counts of applying false trade descriptions to employment agency services, in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).

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The magistrate delayed the sentencing for two weeks to await the probation officer’s  recommendation on the appropriate penalty in the case.

Yip told Fernandez to report to the probation officer and comply with his orders, otherwise she might have to spend time in jail.

But having regard to the defendant’s financial situation and the fact that she has a family to support in the Philippines, the magistrate allowed her to repay her victims Charito Delfino and Arlene Alday by installment.


Asked how much she could repay monthly, Fernandez replied $3,000 and the magistrate agreed. He set the payment term for 20 months starting Jul 31 and ordered her $4,000 bail money to be applied to the compensation.

The magistrate warned Fernandez she must pay her monthly installment before every end of the month starting with $3,005.55 on Jul 31. If she defaults even just once, the court would collect the rest of the payment immediately.

Delfino and Alday sought help from the Customs and Excise Department after Fernandez reneged on her promise to get their male relatives hired in Hong Kong for such jobs as yacht cleaners, babysitters and dog walkers with a monthly salary of $5,000 and food allowance of $1,000.

Delfino applied for 14 of her relatives and friends, while Alday enticed 12 of hers. These took place between Jan 20, 2019 and Aug 31, 2020.

Investigations revealed Fernandez was not connected with any employment agency when she offered the non-existent jobs, although she had previously worked as a secretary for one.

But when she met Alday, Fernandez claimed she had been working for World Wide Consultancy Agency for 16 years. She later called Alday about a family in Shek O supposedly looking for a houseboy at $5,000 a month and $1,000 food allowance.

Twelve jobseekers applied for that position and other jobs through Alday. The other 14 were offered the same jobs through Delfino.

Some jobseekers sent money directly to Fernandez from as far away as Butuan City

When the jobseekers realized they had been duped, they complained to the Consulate. A meeting with Fernandez was arranged on Sept 1, 2019, but she did not show up and had since avoided her victims.

Subsequently, a total of nine people, including Delfino and Alday, went to the Consulate in December 2019, claiming Fernandez had tricked them into paying a total of $112,000 for the bogus jobs, then disappeared.

The Consulate endorsed the complaints to the police as a fraud case but were not pursued. Instead, Customs took up the cases with just Delfino and Alday as complainants.  

Fernandez was first arrested on Dec 13 last year on Alday’s complaint. She was freed on bail. On Feb 26 this year, she was rearrested following Delfino's complaints.


Several other people emerged on social media after Fernandez’ arrest and guilty plea was reported, but it is not clear if they have decided to file complaints.

A statement issued by Customs after the sentencing warned job-seekers against dealing with unlicensed recruiters and for traders not to violate the TDO.

Under the Ordinance, any trader who applies a false trade description to a service supplied to a consumer commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

Members of the public may report any suspected violations of the TDO to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (


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