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Published: Wednesday December 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday December 25, 2013 MYT 7:36:41 AM

Young grad resorted to theft after she couldn’t find job

SHE stole more than S$38,000 (RM98,714) worth of jewellery from her adoptive mother in order to give the 66-year-old a monthly allowance of S$500 (RM1,298).

In sentencing 24-year-old Sarina Chan Jee Chin to 21 months of probation and 130 hours of community service, District Judge Low Wee Ping said: “I don’t think you are a criminal to be put in prison, but it was a very foolish way to please your adoptive mother.”

Chan, who is from China and adopted when she was four, could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for theft after pleading guilty.

The prosecution had argued that there was nothing unusual about this case to spare Chan a jail term, but the judge disagreed, saying there were “many special circumstances”, including how ample restitution had been made.

When the prosecution highlighted the high value of the jewellery that was stolen, defence counsel Edmund Wong explained that Chan had returned S$19,185 (RM49,837) while S$18,860 (RM48,993) of the stolen items had been recovered by the police.

“If you add this to the monthly allowance Yeo received over three years, she gained more than she lost,” Wong pointed out.

The judge also referred to Chan’s good academic results, having graduated from Nanyang Polytechnic with a diploma in visual communications, and her present job as a freelance media research consultant.

Judge Low also added: “It would be excessive punishment to destroy all this and give her a criminal record.”

It was in late 2010, after her graduation, when her adoptive mother Yeo Ah Moy asked for a monthly allowance.

Unable to find a job, she resorted to stealing S$2,255 (RM5,857) worth of gold jewellery from a drawer in Yeo’s bedroom in March 2011, which she then pawned.

She stole three more times the next year, and then for the final time this January.

Five months later, Yeo discovered her jewellery missing and went to the police.

In the probation report, Yeo’s husband said that he did not support a probation sentence for Chan.

But Judge Low said this was because he feared offending his wife.

Chan’s lawyer also revealed that despite being estranged from her adoptive family – she is now living alone – his client had expressed the desire to support Yeo in the years ahead. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Tags / Keywords: Woman stole from mum to pay mum's allowance

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