A Napier business owner is looking forward to building the firm back up, after an employee had her hand so deep in the till she nearly sent it under.

A spokeswoman for Guns & Tackle, Hunting & Fishing Napier, said she was satisfied with the jail sentence Pauline Rasmussen received for stealing more than $50,000 while working for the firm.

Pauline Rasmussen, 46, has been sent to prison and ordered to pay $50,000 reparation to former employer Guns & Tackle, Hunting & Fishing Napier.
Pauline Rasmussen, 46, has been sent to prison and ordered to pay $50,000 reparation to former employer Guns & Tackle, Hunting & Fishing Napier.

"We hope this outcome will prevent Pauline ever putting another business, team, or family through what we all went through.

"We are now looking forward to focusing on making the business even stronger."

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Rasmussen, 46, appeared before Judge Geoff Rea in Napier District Court recently, when she was sentenced to one year and nine months' imprisonment.

She had earlier pleaded guilty to a representative charge of theft by a person in a special relationship, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment. She was ordered to pay $50,000 reparation at $40 a week once out of prison.

Rasmussen's employer first suspected foul play when the tills stopped balancing each day.

Rasmussen was employed from September 26, 2011 to April 14 last year to handle cash, do general office duties, balance daily tills and deal with debtors, creditors, Fish and Game and Department of Conservation licensing.

The summary of facts stated Rasmussen's employers introduced a daily till reconciliation sheet, as a way of "keeping track" of till discrepancies during cash-up. She was instructed to tell her employers about discrepancies but Rasmussen chose not to, instead using several methods to conceal her theft.

During the year she started, working for the shop, her employers started to struggle financially and were no longer making a profit. She was stealing cash while reconciling the banking each morning, writing a business cheque for the cash amount to make the banking balance and once again hide her theft.

In total, $15,571.40 was taken on 29 separate occasions. The second method she used to steal money was to delve into an account set up for the sale of gaming licences which the shop sold on behalf of Fish and Game and Department of Conservation. The shop received a 5 per cent commission on the sale of those licences.

The two businesses withdraw their charges from this special account, minus the 5 per cent commission.

Rasmussen was stealing various amounts of cash from those sales and was not depositing cash into the licensing bank account.

Sometimes no money from the previous day's sales was deposited. In that case, Rasmussen stole $35,871.50 on 69 different occasions, sending the account into overdraft.

That particular account should never have gone into overdraft thanks to the 5 per cent of licensing sales always in the account, the summary stated.

On March 31 last year, $500 was put into the till but it was not rung on. That meant the till was $500 over. However, Rasmussen did not record that as she had been instructed to.

When asked whether the till had been over on March 31 she became "flustered" and said it was more than $350.

"She then led the complainants up into the office and showed them some of the cash, which was hidden under an office tray."

There was no plausible reason for cash to be hidden in the office in that manner.

When her employers met with Rasmussen to discuss what was going on, she admitted stealing just $5000. In total, she stole $51,442.90.