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Filipina resident jailed 44 months for $5.7 million theft

04 January 2024

Avelino admitted the thefts at the District Court

A 34-year-old Filipina resident was put behind bars for 44 months at the District Court earlier today, after admitting two charges of stealing a total of $5.7 million in bank deposits from two companies. 

Kristine Annette D. Avelino was stoic as Deputy Judge Charles J. Chan read out the sentence, after noting the various mitigating factors raised by the defense lawyer. In court to give Avelino support were several family members and friends.

Judge Chan noted that Avelino came to Hong Kong at the age of 10 and committed the offences when she was only 26 years old. The fact that the case had dragged on for a long time was not due to any fault on her part.

He also noted that she suffered from asthma and anxiety because of the long time it took before her case was decided upon, and that she was remorseful. She also had a clear record.

He decided to exercise his discretion in reducing the final sentence to account for the delay in resolving the cases.

However, the judge did not accept as an excuse the defense’s claim that Avelino had committed the offences out of desperation as she needed to help pay for the medical expenses of an uncle and her grandmother who unfortunately, passed away since.

He also said he had to impose separate sentences for the two theft cases, as they were committed separately.

Judge Chan imposed a 38-month sentence for the first offence, where the amount stolen amounted to $5.4 million, and 12 months for the second offence, which involved the theft of $344,000, with six months of the sentences to run concurrently, resulting in a total prison term of 44 months.

In the first charge, Avelino was found guilty of stealing $5.4 million from the account held by the Cosman Health Group Ltd. at Chong Hing Bank. She committed the theft over a five-year period, from May 2, 2012 until April 24, 2017.

A few months later, Avelino again stole a total of $344,044 from the Dah Sing Bank account of Work Life Balance Limited over a four-month period, from Nov. 10, 2017 until Feb. 27, 2018.

She was first charged in Eastern Magistrate’s court but because of the big amount involved, the case was transferred to the District Court. While her case was being heard, she was allowed to post a $60,000 bail for her temporary liberty.

Avelino comes from a family of musicians, and reportedly got married only recently.


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