SINGAPORE: A female employer has been sentenced on Tuesday to 33 months’ jail and fined S$160,000 for operating an illegal moneylending business with her Filipino maid.
48—year—old Koh Suat Lay had loaned money to other foreign domestic workers through her maid, Melanie Jacalan Munar, who acted as the runner.
The operations took place from 2008 till late 2010.
In June this year, Munar, aged 30, told the court during trial that she had helped Koh to offer loans of between S$300 and S$500 to four Filipino maids.
Koh charged the four borrowers interests of between 10 and 50 per cent.
In mitigation, Koh’s defence lawyer said his client had made "friendly loans" to the four maids who were in dire financial need.
He told the court that there was no system or continuity in the transaction, unlike that of a loanshark.
But this did not convince the district judge Wong Peck, who stated in her grounds for decision that Koh was "not truthful" and had been inconsistent with her evidence.
The judge said there was some sort of record in place to indicate to Koh details of her illegal business.
The details were written in code and contained in notepads.
Koh had claimed that the notepads were records of household and her son’s expenditures.
On Koh’s defence that she loaned money to the debtors because she took pity on them and that they volunteered to return the sum with interest, the judge said it did not make sense.
She asked why a debtor, who is already in need of money, would return extra money on top of the loan, to the lender.
Koh is appealing against the sentence.
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