Maid stole about $90k from 95-year-old after he entrusted her with ATM card, gets jail, Singapore

SINGAPORE — Saddled by hefty debts back home, an Indonesian maid used a bank card belonging to her employer’s elderly father to make 89 unauthorised withdrawals totalling $88,600 from January to July 2023.

Eka Yuniarsih, 32, then remitted a portion of her ill-gotten gains to her creditors in Indonesia.

Her offences came to light after the elderly man died. She has made no restitution.

But $5,442 and more than 7.4 million Indonesian rupiah (about S$644 according to court documents) were later seized from her.

She admitted that more than $3,000 of the seized cash had been withdrawn from the victim’s bank account.

On Tuesday (Nov 14), Eka pleaded guilty to one count of criminal breach of trust and was sentenced to 15 months’ jail.

She was also ordered to pay a compensation of $5,442.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Etsuko Lim said that the victim’s son had employed Eka to take care of his father who was around 95 years old then.

In August 2022, the wheelchair-bound elderly man sought her help to withdraw cash from his bank account. He then handed her his automated teller machine (ATM) card and told her the personal identification number.

He also told the maid to retain the card, so it would be more convenient for her to withdraw cash for him.

The DPP said: “(The victim) only ever authorised the accused to withdraw money from his bank account on his behalf, and never for the accused’s own benefit.”

Soon after, Eka withdrew money from the account without his knowledge and consent as she wanted to pay off her debts.

She purposely withdrew not more than $1,000 in a single transaction to avoid triggering the bank’s automatic alert to the elderly man for transactions involving larger sums of money.

She remitted some of the cash to her creditors in Indonesia, and also took $8,000 of her ill-gotten gains to Indonesia when she made a trip there in April 2023.

The senior citizen died on July 10, and six days later, Eka’s employer received his father’s bank statement for the previous month.

The younger man confronted her when he realised that there were multiple withdrawals from his father’s bank account in June.

She lied, claiming that his father had made all the transactions. The younger man alerted the police on July 18 and officers arrested Eka later that day.

She finally admitted that she had made the unauthorised withdrawals.

On Tuesday, DPP Lim stressed that she had made no restitution and urged the court to sentence her to between 16 and 20 months’ jail.

She added: “The accused’s cunning is evident from how she deliberately withdrew no more than $1,000 from (the victim’s) bank account in a single transaction, to avoid triggering the bank’s automatic alert.

“(The victim) was an immobile, elderly man. The accused took advantage of his inability to visit the ATM independently or to monitor his finances closely, and pulled the wool over his eyes.”

Offenders convicted of criminal breach of trust can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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