Riviera Drive, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A 36-year-old Filipino woman was handed an eight-month jail sentence after being found guilty of stealing cash and property totaling more than S$25,000 (US$18,100) from her employer between September and October last year.

Michelle Maloom Abucay faced five charges of theft as a servant and two of transferring a total of S$626 to the Philippines. She had admitted to three counts of stealing from her 43-year-old employer Lee Hooi Wen at Riviera Drive in Singapore, the Chinese-language Lianhe Zaobao newspaper reported.

The theft was revealed on October 26 when Abucay requested the return of her passport to travel home the next day as her mother had died. When Lee’s husband opened the safe to fetch the passport, he found that some gold, jewelry and foreign currency were missing.

Learning of the incident from her husband, Lee conducted a search of her wardrobe, where a Louis Vuitton sling bag, five name-brand wallets, a Chanel bag and a brown Coach bag were also discovered to be missing.

Police investigations showed that Abucay had found the key for the safe in a drawer of the wardrobe, and helped herself to 2,000 Malaysian ringgit (US$465) in cash, The Straits Times reported.

Some of the missing items were sold with the help of a friend who did not know they had been stolen. An estimated S$10,000 worth of property had yet to be recovered as of the day of report.

Abucay’s lawyer said in mitigation that the woman had acted out of genuine financial need as she had to pay urgently for her mother’s medical treatments, who had been critically ill in hospital.

Before the incident, Abucay was said to have served two families faithfully for seven years in Hong Kong and five years in Singapore.

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