Maid hired to care for 88-year-old woman steals more than S$28,000 from her with ATM card and receives 6 months in jail

SINGAPORE — A domestic helper working to care for an 88-year-old woman stole the elderly woman’s ATM card to withdraw more than S$28,000 in cash.

On Thursday (May 23), Thae Thae Mar, a 34-year-old worker from Myanmar, was sentenced to six months in prison for her crimes, committed in February this year.

He pleaded guilty to one count of theft and another similar charge was taken into account during sentencing.

Her sentence was backdated to May 2, when she was arrested and remanded in custody for the first time.

At the time of the offence, Mar was working as a domestic help for Mrs Hoo Siew Keng, who lived with her son and a lodger.

She was hired in early 2022 and her main duties were taking care of Mdm Hoo and household chores.

Court documents showed that sometime in late January of this year, Mar accompanied the victim to the market and, on several occasions, saw her entering her personal identification number (PIN) into the automated teller machine (ATM) to withdraw money.

Mar, who needed money due to financial difficulties, remembered the PIN and decided to steal Mdm Hoo’s ATM card to get some money.

On February 3, while the elderly woman was washing her face at home, Mar took the ATM card from Mdm Hoo’s wallet and went to an ATM located at Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre.

He withdrew cash totaling S$1,500 and sent the money to his relatives in Myanmar.

He then put the stolen card back in his wallet when he returned home.

On February 25, Mar told the victim’s daughter, Lam Kwai Fern, that she had to return to Myanmar urgently, saying that her mother was shot by police officers there and that she would not return to Singapore.

Lam’s brother then booked a plane ticket and Mar left on February 26. At that time, the theft had not been discovered.

Five days later, Lam discovered that between Feb 3 and Feb 26, there were 36 unauthorized cash withdrawals worth S$28,760 from the joint bank account she had with her mother.

He then made an online police report against Mar.

The court heard that Mar had made cash withdrawals from several ATMs in Singapore and remitted all the stolen money to his relatives back home.

Following investigations, Mar was arrested on May 2 when she arrived at Changi Airport and was charged the following day. It is not known why she returned to Singapore.

On Thursday, state prosecutor Lam Peng Choy requested a custodial sentence for Mar, but left the duration to the court’s discretion.

Mr Lam added: “The accused had stolen a large amount of money from an elderly and vulnerable victim, who she was employed to care for.

“No restitution has been made.”

In mitigation, Mar asked the court for leniency, adding that he had to support his sick parents in Myanmar, who are also facing financial difficulties due to the political situation.

District Judge Ong Chin Rhu said he had considered “all the circumstances” when imposing the sentence, including the amount stolen and the victim’s age, as well as Mar’s intention to plead guilty as soon as possible.

For committing robbery, Mar could have been jailed for up to three years or fined, or both.

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