A woman has been jailed for three years and seven months after fraudulently obtaining more than $800,000 to fund her "extravagant" lifestyle.

Susan Dorothy Ford, 56, appeared in the Palmerston North District Court this morning on one charge of obtaining by deceit.

The name of the company involved has been suppressed but details of the offending can be revealed.

Ford was employed sometime in 2007 and worked for her employer for about seven years.


In her role as sole financial administrator, Ford made more than 350 dishonesty transactions, including paying herself overnight allowances and benefits.

She also added an average of 10 hours extra a week to her own pay as well as paying wages for 50 hours into her own bank account under the name of an ex-employee.

Judge Smith said Ford had obtained the money to maintain the extravagant lifestyle she and her family had become accustomed to.

He said her offending involved three types of deception and she had breached the trust she had between herself and her employers, as well as the trust she had with her family.

The money was spent on holidays, expensive hotels, renovations, "big ticket" items and health and beauty products. Ford also distributed the money to her husband and daughter who were unaware of her offending.

Judge Smith noted her guilty pleas but said her remorse came from being caught rather than "otherwise".

Defence lawyer Tony Thackery said his client was deeply ashamed of her offending and had apologised to her ex-employers. He said Ford "could not believe what she had done" and admitted her behaviour was an insult to her employer.

Crown prosecutor Erin Fitzherbert said the company involved had accepted reparation for the full amount was not possible.

But they had also suffered financially, including having to take an overdraft and term loan.

Judge Smith said Ford's offending had shocked the company to the core, and the impact on the self-made business had been "shattering".

Mr Thackery said Ford had some equity from her home but could not fully repay the debt.

Judge Smith made an order for $100,000 reparation.

Ford was supported by her family, with some visibly distressed during the appearance.