A domestic helper in Singapore has been sentenced to seven months and one week in jail after moonlighting illegally and stealing over S$23,000 (US$17,000) from a customer. Elvira Cadila Orlanes Ordonez, a 46-year-old Filipina, was convicted on June 18 for one count of theft and two counts under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, with an additional two charges considered in sentencing.


Elvira had been working in Singapore since 2003, employed as a domestic helper under a work permit that restricted her to her primary employer. Despite this, she began taking on part-time cleaning jobs during her days off, charging S$20 per hour for her services, which included vacuuming, mopping, and washing toilets.

One of her customers, a tenant at Cathay Residences, hired Elvira for cleaning services based on a previous tenant’s recommendation. Between April 2023 and April 2024, she worked for this customer 26 times, earning about S$2,700. She also worked illegally for a Singaporean man at Nomu condominium, introduced by his girlfriend. In this role, Elvira performed various household chores but also stole S$23,650 over 18 occasions between May 2023 and April 2024.


The theft was discovered on April 7, 2024, when the couple found cash missing while preparing a wedding gift. They reported the theft to the police, leading to Elvira’s arrest at Plaza Singapura while meeting the victim’s girlfriend to return S$800. Investigations revealed her moonlighting activities and the theft.


Elvira, facing financial difficulties and debts to loan sharks, deposited the stolen money into her bank accounts and sent some to her family in the Philippines. In court, she pleaded for leniency, expressing remorse and highlighting her long service and family needs.

The prosecution emphasized her breach of trust and violation of the work pass regulations. Elvira earned at least S$3,900 from her illegal part-time work. For theft, she could have faced up to seven years in jail and a fine, and for working without a valid work pass, up to two years in jail and a fine of up to S$20,000.


Yours Sincerely,

The editorial team at Singapore Employment Agency


For more useful articles and videos, visit the Singapore Employment Agency resource page.

If you would like to submit a question or would like us to do an article on certain topics, please email us at [email protected].


Little Big Employment Agency Pte Ltd is a licensed Employment Agency with the Ministry of Manpower with license number 19C9790.