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Housekeeper caught using stolen debit cards

Housekeeper caught using  stolen debit cards
Erescia Phillips

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A 27-year-old mother who stole debit cards on the same day that she was employed as a housekeeper, was caught in her deception later using one of these to purchase items from a supermarket.

This action landed her at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC), where Erescia Phillips of Prospect admitted her guilt to, on November 15, at Diamond, stealing EC$234.45 in cash, which was the property of Joel Bascombe of Kingstown Hill.

According to the facts, Phillips was hired to work as a housekeeper at an apartment building, and on the same day that this happened, Bascombe’s debit cards from two different banks went missing from a countertop in the bathroom.

He later went to the bank to make checks, and found out that charges had been made to his account. Charges had apparently been made at a supermarket in Diamond. The complainant went there, and explained his plight. Following this, they allowed him to view the CCTV footage, and Phillips was seen using the card.

The court was given information that Phillips had a conviction overseas.

The defendant clarified that she had been in a fight and she was convicted for grievous bodily harm. She said that she was 16 years old at the time.

“But you’re 27 now, and like you’re graduated,” the magistrate observed, “so don’t use age to your benefit, because you’re older now, and look at what you have done…”

He added that when Phillips first appeared on Friday, November 20, he had remanded her in prison over the weekend for a reason. “I thought I was doing something to you to hope that you would change, but I’m being told that that experience may be new only for St Vincent,” he commented.

When asked her reason for her actions, the young woman said her son was sick; he had school the following day, and his father does not maintain him. She added that she knew she was wrong.

“But apart from knowing that you were wrong, you must have known that you would be caught,” Burnett asked her. Her response was inaudible.

However, the defendant persisted, saying that she wanted to go to meet her son.

“When you want to go home and meet your son, and you want to stay home with your son – be an honest young woman,” the magistrate told her. He informed that theft carries a maximum prison sentence of two years.

“Once you do that, prison is possible. So don’t tell me about you want to go home to meet your son,” he said.

Nonetheless, he applied the sentencing guidelines of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, and came to the conclusion that he would not impose a jail term on her.

But, the now unemployed young woman must find a way to pay compensation of $234.45 to Bascombe by December 31, or she will spend three months in prison.

She also had to sign a bond of $1000, and if she breaches the conditions of this bond by committing another offence, within one year, then she must pay $1000 forthwith or spend six months incarcerated.

Burnett ended by telling the defendant that, based on the facts before him, “you have to change your life… because if within a day you are that tempted to commit this crime, it means if you are put in the same, or a similar position, that you may do the same thing.”

“I’m saying to you, check yourself,” the magistrate said.