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Mystery surrounds stolen $326k

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/10/2016

Where the more than $326,000 that a payroll administrator siphoned out of her employer's bank accounts went remains a mystery.

The only explanation Tania Whiteman's lawyer could offer in the Rotorua District Court on Thursday was that a portion had gone into a TAB account but said there was no evidence she was a gambler.

Judge Louis Bidois jailed Whiteman, 38, for three years three months on two charges of obtaining money by deception between June 2013 and October last year.

She had earlier pleaded guilty but disputed the amount it was claimed she took.

Judge Bidois also ordered her to make reparation of $150,000 once she's done her jail time.

The summary of facts outlined how Whiteman paid money due to the company into either her bank account or her husband's.

The judge asked if Whiteman had sold her house or held a fire sale of her chattels so she could pay back her employers, Pearce Flooring Ltd, but lawyer Martin Hine said her house was rented and she had few personal assets.

"There's no evidence of what she has done with it other than some dinners and lifestyle," he said.

The judge said the most significant remorse Whiteman had expressed was to her own family, she hadn't written a letter of regret to the court, but had told her pre-sentence report writer that she'd become greedy.

Judge Bidois said the company's owners had to dip into their retirement fund to prop up their company after Whiteman made a significant dent in their financial resources and that their bank foreclosed on their mortgage at a time they were near the end of their working lives.

He said a substantial amount was involved and Whiteman had severely breached her employer's and fellow employees' trust.

Earlier Mr Hine said she'd been jeered by former workmates in the public gallery at her various court appearances.

Outside the court company co-owner Maryanne Pearce said Whiteman had ruined their lives and she doubted they'd ever see a cent's reparation.

"She hasn't expressed a syllable of regret ... this time last year, and although she was on bail, she was at the Melbourne Cup, we can't help but suspect we paid for that."

She confirmed a claim that Whiteman had feigned cancer and had been given considerable time off with work colleagues compassionately rallying around her.

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