Filipino domestic worker in HK launders money for ‘online boyfriend’, jailed
A Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong pleaded guilty to laundering money for her “online boyfriend.”
The Filipino woman, identified as Jeanette Rodriguez of Tung Chung, Lantau, laundered over HDK677,000 (P4.4 million) for her boyfriend, a certain “Mr. Brown,” who she met on Facebook, as per Hong Kong News on June 25. It was noted that she is a single mother with four children.
The funds were deposited by four Chinese women, who were also targeted and courted online by Rodriguez’s boyfriend. One of the four apparently deposited HKD100,000 (about P658,000).
Rodriguez was arrested after authorities found dubious transactions worth HKD677,331 in her two accounts with the Bank of China and Hang Seng bank, as per report. Rodriguez dealt with laundered funds amounting to HKD551,530 (about P3.6 million) in her Hang Seng bank account from April 2017 to June 2018.
Meanwhile, she dealt with laundered funds amounting to HKD125,800 (about P828,000) in her Bank of China account from March 2018 to April 2018. She was arrested last November 2018.
Rodriguez’s lawyer explained that his client fell in love with “Mr. Brown,” who promised to marry her and told her to keep HKD12,000 (P79,000) of the “dirty money.”
“They started chatting, getting to know each other, until he promised he will come over to HK to marry her,” the lawyer was quoted as saying. “She believed they were lovers and trusted each other.”
Judge Peter Law of the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts, meanwhile, decided to give Rodriguez leniency. Instead of giving her 15 months in jail for each of the two charges, Law lowered it to eight months each. He also ruled that she serve her sentence concurrently, so she would only stay in jail for eight months instead of 16 months.
“Money laundering is a very serious matter, especially with international elements,” Judge Law was quoted as saying. “In the present case, the defendant started out believing the romance — this is a cheated romance — and in a later stage it turned criminal.” Cody Cepeda/JB
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