SINGAPORE – A domestic helper in Singapore with a monthly wage of S$750 stole from her employer designer handbags and rings valued more than S$30,000.
According to CNA, she sold the items for cash because she needed money for her son’s surgery in the Philippines as well as to settle the debts she accrued from borrowing money from friends in Singapore.
When she was apprehended, the 28-year-old Filipina proceeded to a hostel to await her court date. She stole from her roommate, a fellow immigrant, once more.
Meneses Princess Joy Domingo was sentenced to a year and two weeks in prison on Monday (Feb 14). Domingo, who has been incarcerated since December, pled guilty to one crime of theft and one count of theft by servant, with a third charge being considered.
Domingo began working for a 41-year-old South Korean woman at her condominium unit in central Singapore in May 2021, according to the court.
According to the prosecutor, her employer kept an assortment of jewelry and purses in an unlocked wardrobe in her bedroom that was never locked.
Domingo was in charge of her employer’s nine-year-old daughter, making meals for her, transporting her to and from school, and conducting domestic tasks.
She made S$750 per month and worked on Sundays. According to the prosecutor, she slept in her own room in the apartment and was given a bed with a blanket and pillows, as well as ample sleep, rest, and food.
Domingo asked more money from her employer during her first month on the job, and her employer provided her an additional S$100 on top of her wage.
Domingo then requested further money, and her employer granted her an additional S$200 in July 2021 and an additional S$300 in August 2021.
Despite this, Domingo stole from her employer when she was not at home, and when her daughter was in school. Between May 2021 and August 2021, she went into the unlocked wardrobe and stole S$30,705 worth of Chanel handbags and Tiffany & Co rings over three occasions. The priciest bag was worth S$8,500.
Once she had stolen the items, Domingo would immediately leave the unit to sell them. She said she required money for her son’s operation back home, as well as to repay debts she had incurred from borrowing money from her friends in Singapore.
Domingo sold some of the bags to her friends or acquaintances, lying to them that she had been gifted the goods by her Indian boyfriend working as an IT employee in Chanel. She sold the rings to a shop in Lucky Plaza.
She gained S$10,280 from the sale of the goods and remitted some money back to the Philippines. She used some of the money to repay the loans she owed to her friends.
In June 2021, Domingo’s employer noticed that two of her rings were missing. She assumed that she had misplaced them elsewhere in the apartment and did not think much of it.
However, she discovered on Aug 19, 2021, that several of her Chanel handbags were missing. Suspecting that Domingo had stolen them, she filed a police report.
Went to stay at hotel, stole again
Domingo admitted to the offences. While waiting for her court case, she stayed at a hostel with a 37-year-old woman from China, who was a stranger to her.
Domingo was given the contact of the Philippine Embassy so she could seek help if she needed it, but instead stole cash from her room-mate’s unattended wallet left behind in the hostel room.
She pocketed S$400 from the woman. The woman knew that the money had gone missing but did not report the matter at first, as she did not want to blow up the issue.
However, Domingo stole another S$50 from her room-mate’s wallet in October 2021, for her personal expenses and to send money back home. When her room-mate realised that S$50 was missing from her wallet, she lodged a police report.
When interviewed by the police for these offences, Domingo initially claimed she did not do it, and that she did not even know where her room-mate kept her money.
She admitted to her crimes only in her third interview.
The prosecutor asked for 15 to 18 months’ jail for the theft by servant charge, and two to four weeks’ jail for the theft from her room-mate. She did not make submissions on whether to run the jail terms consecutively.
She pointed to the significant value of the items stolen from Domingo’s employer, as well as how Domingo breached the trust reposed in her.
For theft by servant, Domingo could have been jailed up to seven years and fined. As the charge was amalgamated, the maximum penalty could have been doubled.