An employee of a nursing home of Indian origin was fined SGD 4,000 on Monday after she had earlier pleaded guilty to theft and the fraud of an elderly resident.
Latha Narayanan, 59, stole an ATM card belonging to an elderly resident she had to look after and withdrew SGD 1,000 in cash. She also used the card to buy food and toiletries at a supermarket.
Two other similar charges against Latha were taken into account during sentencing, according to a report by The Straits Times.
The court heard that Latha, who was a health assistant at Woodlands Care Home, was appointed in 2019 to care for the victim, a 65-year-old man.
He died in January 2021, according to court documents.
The court heard that sometime in 2019, the man forgot the PIN number for his ATM card and Latha accompanied him to the bank to get a new code after a regular hospital visit.
The man received his new PIN number in the presence of Latha and put his ATM card in the pocket of his phone cover. He then handed her the device for safekeeping.
On November 21, 2019, Latha used the card entrusted to her to withdraw SGD 1,000 in cash, which committed theft, the prosecutor said.
She then used the card on November 25 to pay for SGD 73’s food and toiletries at a supermarket in Woodlands, which dishonestly persuaded staff at the store to do the deal.
The offenses came to light when the elderly man reported to the police on November 27 that he had lost his ATM card and that unauthorized withdrawals had been made from his bank account.
This was not Latha’s first brush with the law. In 2017, she was fined SGD 600 for property-related thefts, according to court documents.
Seeking a fine of SGD 4,000, the prosecutor said the total amount involved in Latha’s case was SGD 1,870, pointing out that repayment was made in the form of a donation to the Singapore Cancer Society on 9 February this year.
In mitigation, attorney Ashwin Ganapathy, who also demanded a fine of SGD 4,000, said Latha was committed to doing restitution despite the fact that he needed months to raise the funds.
He told an earlier court hearing that Latha had been a victim of bullying in her youth and had endured abuse in her marriage.
She was also abused by the victim she cared for at the nursing home, Mr Ganapathy added.
The penalty for theft and fraud is a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by techlives staff and is being published from a syndicated stream.)