Failure to admit her crimes cost the former manager of a Whangarei Christian shop dearly after a court rejected home detention and sent her to prison.
Karen Quinn, 43, was found guilty in October to 42 counts of theft by a person in a special relationship.
She stole about $11,000 over a six-month period from the end of 2009 to early 2010 while employed as manager for the Manna Christian Store in central Whangarei.
Yesterday Quinn appeared for sentencing in Whangarei District Court.
Judge Graham Hubble said he was prepared to take a lenient view towards her if she had admitted her offending.
Her persistent desire to apportion blame onto others was "mean-spirited", the judge said.
He said Quinn's offending started soon after she joined the store and she was in a position of trust. While the amount stolen may not be large in terms of benefit fraud, it was a considerable sum of money for a charitable organisation set-up to help others in the community, Judge Hubble said.
Quinn's denial, he said, went as far as her giving evidence during trial and implicating other staff members in the theft.
Her offending meant Manna Christian Stores have had to change their accounting and IT systems throughout the country to prevent a re-occurrence of the crimes Quinn committed, he said.
Her lawyer Kelly Johnson suggested a sentence of electronic monitoring but Judge Hubble said the nature and duration of the offending, amount stolen and the degree of planning ruled out a non-custodial sentence.
Her current employers were in court and spoke highly of her in documents tendered to the judge.
Quinn was jailed for two and a half years.