Maid guilty of stealing from disabled boss

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Kowloon City Courts

FOR stealing money from her disabled employer, a Filipino domestic helper was sent to jail.

Deputy Magistrate Andrew Ma of the Kowloon City Courts said the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that A.M. Castante stole $1,100 from her wheelchair-bound employer on Apr. 22 in his home in Wong Tai Sin. He added that the defendant showed no remorse, and sentenced her to two weeks in prison.

Castante’s employer on June 27 gave his evidence in court and said the Filipina started working as their domestic helper since 2011 and had suspected her of stealing money from him at least seven times.

Despite these suspicions, he said they renewed her contract for several times because he was a “disabled person” and “very much in need of assistance from others”.

The first time he noticed that money was missing, he asked the defendant about it, but “she denied it and she became agitated”. On Apr. 22, however, he found $1,100 missing from his wallet.

The employer said he called his wife, who was in the mainland with their son, and informed her about the missing money and told her to come home immediately and call the police. He said that on the previous day, he withdrew $3,000 from an ATM and took a photo of the banknotes and their serial numbers. The employer said he did this because he was so angry when earlier that day, he found that Castante “took each and every cent of my money in the wallet”.

After withdrawing the money from the ATM, which consisted of four pieces of  $500 notes, and 10 pieces of $100 notes, he then took $200 from it to buy food. He also said he took photos of the banknotes because his memory was “poor”.

The employer said the defendant also knew his wife and son would be returning home from their travel in China on Apr. 22. In the afternoon, after taking a nap, he discovered $1,100 was missing.

A few hours after, his wife arrived and called the police. The police checked the defendant’s wallet and found money there. They then compared the serial number of the banknotes indicated in the photo taken by the employer on his mobile phone and the serial number of the banknotes found in the defendant’s wallet and found they matched.

In defense, the duty lawyer of the defendant asked the witness about his poor memory and insisted that the money found in Castante’s wallet was part of her salary.

The employer admitted that he was “forgetful”, but he never gave the money to Castante as part of her salary. He also said he did not give her permission to take his money.