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  1. #1

    (News) Employers Stand By Maid Convicted of Stealing from Them: Nothing missing in...

    Nothing missing in years she was with us

    OUT ON BAIL: Aam was sentenced to six months jail. She is now out on bail of $12,000. ST FILE PICTURE

    THEY stood by their maid when she was accused of stealing almost $190,000 from them.

    The employers, Madam Susanti Handayani Handajuwana and her husband, posted bail of $8,000 and even paid for a lawyer to defend her at her trial. Aam Usup, 46, an Indonesian, was convicted and jailed six months on one charge of theft.

    She is now out on bail of $12,000 and is holding a special pass pending an appeal against her conviction and sentence. It will be heard next month.

    Aam was alleged to have stolen two safes from her employers on New Year's Day last year, when they were abroad on vacation.

    One of the safes was empty while the other contained cash, jewellery and watches amounting to about $187,500.

    Take advantage of their trust

    Aam lived with Madam Susanti's family at the upscale Ardmore Park condominium in the Orchard Road area.

    She was allegedly helped by her friend, Sri Sunarti Mulyo Sutarno, 28, an Indonesian maid who was employed by a Korean family living in the same condo.

    The two maids met regularly when they went to wash their employers' cars at the condo's basement carpark.

    The court heard that shortly after her arrest, Sri Sunarti admitted her involvement in the theft to the police.

    She also fingered Aam as the person who had helped her move the two safes from Madam Susanti's sixth floor unit to her employer's unit on the seventh floor.

    But Aam denied her involvement in the theft and went on trial.

    Madam Susanti and her husband engaged lawyer Anand Nalachandran to defend Aam.

    After a 13-day hearing, the judge ruled that Aam had taken advantage of her employers' trust to commit the theft with Sri Sunarti.

    Madam Susanti, who was originally from Indonesia, was one of the prosecution witnesses.

    She told the court that when she moved here in 1998, she took Aam along to work as her maid. The family moved into Ardmore Park in 2001. The apartment came with a white safe, which was in the cupboard in the master bedroom.

    Madam Susanti told the court that she did not know how to open the safe. So, her husband bought her another safe, which was bigger and brown in colour.

    She had told Aam that the white safe was empty and Madam Susanti said she believed Aam knew that she kept her cash, jewellery and other valuables in the brown safe.

    Madam Susanti told the court how her husband had absent-mindedly left US$10,000 ($14,500) on the study room table just before they left for the US.

    When he remembered, the couple called Aam to look for it and told her to keep it safely.

    By the time they returned from their holiday, Aam had already been arrested. But Madam Susanti checked the drawer and found the money there.

    Madam Susanti said she had always been able to find her valuables and that not a single item had gone missing in the years that Aam was working for her.

    She said she and her husband have often left cash, valuables and their handphones lying around the house.

    Whenever Aam came across them, she would keep them and hand them to Madam Susanti when she returned.

    Aam even knew where the $8,000 hongbao money belonging to Madam Susanti's daughter was kept, but the money remained intact.

    Madam Susanti said that sometimes, when she was travelling and could not locate her jewellery, she would call Aam and ask her to look for them.

    Aam never failed to find her jewellery and would keep them safely till she returned.

    Madam Susanti described Aam as a simple person who was naive and 'not very smart'. She added that Aam was not capable of scheming and hatching a plan to steal.

    Madam Susanti and her family went to Los Angeles on 1 Jan last year and were to return on 6 Jan.

    While they were there, a police officer called her on her handphone to inform her about the theft and Aam's arrest.

    Aam has two daughters, who are both married, and three grandchildren back in Indonesia. Her husband has since died.

    For theft, Aam could have been jailed seven years and fined.

    The Electric New Paper, Singapore - The Electric New Paper News

  2. #2
    Judge: Safes must have been broken open in first maid's unit

    CAN one petite maid move two heavy safes by herself from one condo unit to another?

    This was the question facing the court during the trial of Indonesian maid Aam.

    Her alleged partner in crime, Sri Sunarti, had originally told the police that Aam was involved in the theft.

    But in court, Sri Sunarti recanted her earlier statements and claimed she had acted alone.

    She told the court she had implicated Aam at first because the police did not believe she was strong enough to carry the safes alone.

    Sri Sunarti then explained that she was unable to carry the safes in court because since her arrest, she had only been eating and sleeping in prison and had lost much of her strength.

    When Sri Sunarti insisted that she had acted alone, the prosecution sought to impeach her.

    District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam allowed it and said that more weight should be given to Sri Sunarti's police statements than her testimony in court.

    Sri Sunarti told the court that she had carried the two safes all by herself from the sixth floor to her own unit on the seventh floor while Aam was washing the car.

    District Judge Kamala found this unbelievable as Sri Sunarti had shown in court that she was not capable of carrying the safes.

    The judge said it was inconceivable how someone of her petite frame could have carried the safes for such a distance.

    The judge added that breaking the safes must have created a din as a considerable amount of force would be needed.

    Sri Sunarti's employers had not heard anything, which could only mean that the safes had been broken open in Aam's unit.

    The police did not find any fingerprints on the safes.

    What she said before

    In her police statement, Sri Sunarti said that on 1 Jan last year, while washing the cars, Sri Sunarti asked Aam about returning the $5,000 she had borrowed from her.

    She said Aam then told her that her employer had three safes and asked her to go to her employer's flat on the sixth floor, but she did not explain why.

    They then returned to their respective units after washing the cars. About 15 minutes later, Sri Sunarti went to Aam's unit through the back door and saw two safes - a white one and a bigger brown one - outside the maid's toilet.

    There were two large towels placed under the safes. A hammer and a metal rod were beside the safes. After hammering and knocking for two hours, the duo broke open the door of the brown safe.

    Sri Sunarti said Aam then put the jewellery into a plastic bag while she placed the money in an envelope.

    Aam then told her the money was meant to repay the loan. Aam also asked her to keep the jewellery and that she would take it back when things were quiet.

    Sri Sunarti then went back to her unit to prepare dinner. Later that night, she again went to Aam's unit and saw that Aam had already made a hole in the smaller safe.

    Sri Sunarti told the police that they knew that the white safe was empty but they wanted to break it open so as to make it look like the work of burglars.

    Sri Sunarti added that Aam then suggested moving the safes to her employer's unit on the seventh floor.

    As a result, Sri Sunarti sustained bruises on her inner arms.

    They then placed the safe in front of Sri Sunarti's room and went back for the white safe.

    That night at 11pm, Sri Sunarti put a trash bag over the white safe and dragged it out to the lift landing.

    The next morning at about 10am, Aam alerted the condo's security guard about the safe left at the seventh floor lift landing.

    The police arrived shortly and when they knocked on the door of Sri Sunarti's unit, there was no answer.

    The officers then went on to interview Aam and another maid at the 24th floor.

    Meanwhile, Sri Sunarti dragged the brown safe out to the lift lobby.

    The police were surprised to find a second safe when they returned to the seventh floor 10 minutes later.

    They again knocked on Sri Sunarti's door and this time, she opened it.

    After a short interview, she admitted to stealing the safes and led the police to the stolen cash and jewellery in her unit. Both she and Aam were then arrested.

    Last year, Sri Sunarti pleaded guilty to stealing from Aam's employer and a separate charge of stealing $3,000 from her Korean employers. She was jailed six months.

    The Electric New Paper, Singapore - The Electric New Paper News

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