Bank programmer jailed for illegal moneylending scheme targeting maids
A programmer working at Maybank was jailed for her part in an illegal moneylending operation targeting maids here.
David Cyrine Mercado, 30, a Filipino woman working as an IT analyst programmer, pleaded guilty to nine charges of illegal moneylending yesterday.
She was jailed for 30 months and fined $270,000 , with 19 similar charges taken into consideration.
In 2016, Mercado was living in a shared bedroom with her co-accused Valino Marianne Pasco, 42, a Filipino maid. Mercado rented the room from Pasco's employer.
Pasco approached the accused that year to run an illegal moneylending operation targeting other maids, offering loans with an interest rate of 15 per cent a month.
Mercado provided the capital and received two-thirds of the interest collected. Pasco took the rest and liaised with borrowers. Mercado also kept records, and the operation lasted from late 2016 to Sept 17 last year, when the duo were arrested.
At that time, there was more than $88,000 worth of live loans issued, with a projected interest of more than $36,000. Mercado earned more than $72,000 from the scheme, while Pasco earned more than $35,000.
The operation came to light after borrowers felt they were paying too much, and one of them made a police report on Sept 3 last year.
There were a total of 18 borrowers and all were maids here.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kang Jia Hui urged the court to jail Mercado for 30 months and fine her $360,000. She said the accused exploited maids, who were vulnerable victims.
Mercado's lawyer Ng Kwong Loong said Pasco was jailed for 27 months and fined $270,000, and asked for his client's sentence to be lower than that.
He said Mercado essentially made a loss of about $15,000 as the profits she made were used for the live loans, and it was unlikely these sums would be recovered. But DPP Kang argued that the profits had been used to expand the business.
District Judge Tan Jen Tse said he found Mercado's culpability to be higher than that of her co-accused.