SINGAPORE — Unable to handle her job as a nurse at a veterinary clinic, a woman lied that her father had died and resigned from her position.
However, left with the key to the clinic, Fahira Hanani Azmi Mahmud, a Malaysian, then returned over a period of six months to steal money from its cash register, commuting from Johor Bahru to Singapore solely for the illicit purpose.
Fahira, 25, then used the $42,950 she stole to pay for a holiday in South Korea, her expenses, new mobile phones, air tickets, clothes and furniture. She also gave part of the money to her parents as allowance.
Fahira was jailed for three years and three months on Thursday (17 December) after she pleaded guilty to breaking into the Animal Infirmary at 74 Thomson Road on 17 occasions between 1 June and 22 December last year to commit theft.
She also pleaded guilty to stealing $50 from the clinic at around 11pm on 13 May last year, and breaking into the clinic on four occasions at night between 1 August and 1 December last year, to steal $7,000. Another similar charge was taken into consideration for her sentencing.
Given key as part of her work
Fahira worked as a veterinary nurse at Animal Infirmary from 10 March to 27 April 2019, where she was given a key to the front door of the clinic to open it daily. During her time there, she was also told about the location of the key to the cash register.
Around 27 April, she told the co-owner of the clinic that she had to return to Malaysia as her family had gotten into a car accident, which was a lie. The co-owner granted her leave from work to do so but on 6 May last year, Fahira claimed that her father had passed away due to the car accident, which was another lie.
She resigned with immediate effect, but told the co-owner she would return to the clinic within two weeks to collect her belongings and return the key to the front door.
However, instead of returning to her parents’ place in Kuala Lumpur, Fahira rented a place in Johor Bahru and kept going back to the clinic to steal money from the cash register. She would then re-enter into Johor Bahru within the same day.
Around 13 May last year, at around 11pm, Fahira entered the clinic through its front door with her key to collect her belongings. She took notice of the cash register.
She recalled that there was cash in the register and managed to open it with a key within the clinic. She then stole $50 before returning the key to its original position.
Between 1 June and 22 December last year, Fahira stole cash amounting to $42,950 in the same manner. She was captured on CCTV on some occasions.
The co-owner of the clinic noticed that sale proceeds were dwindling over the six months and counted the money in the cash register on 22 December last year before she left the clinic. When she counted the money the next morning however, she noticed a discrepancy of $2,950 and checked the CCTV. This was when she discovered Fahira’s misdeed. She lodged a police report that day.
Fahira’s lawyer, Jaesh Balachandran, told the court that his client came to Singapore to support aged parents but unfortunately, could not adjust to her job.
“She found difficulty in managing her position at the vet clinic and after some time, she decided she could not handle it anymore and wanted to quit but was unable to voice out to her superior. That’s why she lied about her parents being ill,” said the lawyer.
During her “period of crime”, Fahira “lived in an unpleasant state of limbo” while renting a place in Johor Bahru. She did not tell her parents that she lost her job as she was ashamed.
“She literally had nowhere to go and was just commuting between Johor and Singapore,” added Balachandran.
Fahira was under a “tremendous amount of stress” and hence committed the crimes, but is now deeply remorseful, he said. She has since cooperated with the authorities.
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