OFW jailed for stealing P2.6M worth of jewelry in HK

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District Court

A 42-year-old overseas Filipino worker was sentenced yesterday (August 27) to prison after she stole and pawned P2.6 million worth of jewelry from her employer in Ho Man Tin.

District Court Judge Clement Lee sentenced Charity E.R. to 16 months in prison after she admitted to stealing and then pawning 27 pieces of jewelry from her female employer, some of which were family heirlooms.

“A lot came from grandma who has passed away,” the employer told the court. “I totally trusted her and allowed her to stay in my home and she did that to me.”

The domestic worker admitted to stealing one diamond ring, two diamond necklaces, one diamond bracelet, six gold bracelets, 13 gold necklaces with pendants, one gold ring, one pair of diamond earrings, two necklaces, and Rmb2,000.

The police recovered only seven pieces of jewelry worth P1.6 million from the pawnshops where Charity had pawned them.

She had no money to pay for the missing 20 other pieces of jewelry that were still worth P1 million. She said she had already spent the money she gotten from the pawnshops.

Charity started working for the complainant in May 2017. Her employer had kept the missing jewelry in a locked drawer in her master bedroom. The key was kept in a cabinet near it.

On Dec. 19, the employer discovered that some of her jewelry were missing and, after a search, she discovered 13 receipts from nine pawnshops in Charity’s belongings. She reported the case to the police and the Filipino woman admitted to the offense.

Charity’s lawyer said the domestic worker, a mother of three, was very remorseful remorseful and committed the offense because her family needed money.

She said Charity’s husband, a farmer, and her two daughters had asthma, and her elderly mother had a stroke in late 2017. The pawnshop receipts showed she started pawning the stolen jewelry in May 2018.

“There was enormous financial pressure on her to meet all their financial needs,” the lawyer said.

“She’s very remorseful about what happened and her family is now struggling because she now has no job,” she added, asking for leniency.

But Judge Lee noted that beside being a breach of trust case, some of stolen jewelry were family heirlooms and marriage gifts to the complainant.

“This is a breach of trust case which is an aggravating factor. Apart from the monetary value (of the stolen jewelry), I also take into account their sentimental value,” Judge Lee said.

He said the starting point in calculating Charity’s prison term was 26 months. Because of her clear record, this was reduced to 25 months. This was reduced further to 16 months for her guilty plea.