Jail for maid who stole more than $6,000 employer’s daughter had saved in piggy bank since 2009

SINGAPORE — A housekeeper who had previously borrowed about $10,000 from her employer for alleged medical expenses for her family in the Philippines wanted more money.

Joann Desoloc Martinez, 44, decided to steal it from a piggy bank containing her employer’s daughter’s savings from her allowances and Chinese New Year hongbao since 2009.

She used tweezers to withdraw the money and did so for over two years, collecting a total of $6,211.

Martinez’s theft was discovered in February this year when his employer broke the piggy bank belonging to his 20-year-old daughter and found it contained only $144.

Martinez was jailed for five months on Tuesday, May 31, after pleading guilty to a charge of home theft.

State Attorney Lam Peng Choy said in court papers that Martinez had worked for the family since 2015 and was paid $650 a month, with her main duties being cooking and housework.

“On her own initiative, the complainant and her family treated her well,” he said.

Martinez’s employer – a 54-year-old woman – has kept ceramic piggy banks for her two daughters since 2009. Over the years, her daughters have kept their excess allowance and Chinese New Year red packets in their respective piggy banks.

Martinez claimed in early 2019 that his family in the Philippines needed money for medical bills. She borrowed about $10,000 in total from her employer, but deemed it insufficient and decided to rob her employer’s daughters who she knew held large sums of money in their piggy banks.

Between February 2019 and June 2021, when she was alone in the house, the accused entered the victim’s bedroom to steal the piggy bank.

The prosecutor said “(Martinez) was unable to recall the total number of occasions she stole from the piggy bank except that she stole sums of $50 to $200 each time” .

After stealing the money from the piggy bank, Martinez returned the money to his family in the Philippines several times.

Following the discovery of the missing money, the employer filed a police report and Martinez was arrested on April 13 of this year.

According to court documents, the stolen money has not been found and no restitution has been made to date.