FDH steals from employer due to mounting debts

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Kwun Tong Law Courts Building

 

FOR 14 years of working in Hong Kong she had not run afoul of the law, but that all changed when she took out a loan and also became a guarantor of a loan.

Saying the case was a “breach of trust” and a serious offense, Deputy Magistrate Jolie Chao  Tsz-kwan of the Kwun Tong Magistracy on Oct. 11 sentenced V.B. Daria to six months in prison.

The jail term was reduced to four months following the defendant’s guilty plea.

The prosecution alleged that Daria, 40, started working for  her latest employer, a Yoga instructor,  in July 2014.

The employer would usually put all her valuables and passports, including the helper’s, inside a locked cabinet, and that she was the only one who had a key to it.  The key was kept inside her bag, which she sometimes left at home.

On Sept. 2, the employer wanted to terminate Daria because she was unsatisfied with the latter’s performance. When she went to take Daria’s passport from the cabinet, the employer found valuables, worth $42,380, missing.

Upon checking with her husband, and searching for the items, and unable to find them, she also checked the defendant’s belongings and found two pawnshop slips in the defendant’s black shoulder bag.

The helper then allegedly admitted that the pawnshop slips belonged to her.

Police officers conducted a pawnshop check using the defendant’s ID number, and found that the helper pawned valuables in three different pawnshops between May and August 2017 for $10,150.

The employer then confirmed that the valuables belonged to her and that she did not authorize the defendant to pawn them.

Mitigating, Daria’s duty lawyer told the court that in the last 14 years of working in Hong Kong, the defendant had a clear record.

“During that time, the defendant had no problem…The reason why she stole the items was due to [mounting] debts. She had taken out a loan, and she also guaranteed a friend’s loan.

“She understands the repercussion of this case…and now she is highly unlikely to find work in Hong Kong again, which means loss of significant income for her and her family,” the duty lawyer said.

He added that Daria had pleaded guilty, indicating her remorse and that she was asking the court for leniency.

However, Judge Chao said as the valuables were not insured, they could not be considered recovered by the employer.

“This is a very serious offense, an immediate custodial sentence is inevitable. I have considered the facts of the case, your guilty plea, your clear record and the serious consequences you might face in the future because of your conviction today.

“I shall adopt a starting point of six months of imprisonment in this case, and in the light of your guilty plea, you are entitled to one-third discount so that’s four months of imprisonment,” Judge Chao said.

 

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