A senior business manager took sick days to steal money from her boss' company in a six-year scam totalling more than $2.7 million before gambling the cash as a VIP high-roller at SkyCity.

Herminia Lanuza this week pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the Auckland District Court after she abused her position of trust as the second-in-charge for an Auckland company which imports household and hospitality wares.

Her partner Divinia Granados, an accountant, also pleaded guilty to laundering stolen money through bank accounts. The couple will be sentenced in August.

The victims have name suppression but the managing director told the Weekend Herald that the "systematic and deliberate theft" over six years nearly left the importing company insolvent.

The theft meant that a number of local and international creditors had not been paid, although the books recorded they had. So the directors had to take personal loans against their own homes to pay the mounting debts and keep the business afloat.

"The theft has had a crippling effect on the company, which is still ongoing, as well as jeopardising the livelihood of all staff and colleagues," said the managing director.

The missing millions were uncovered only after an unpaid tax bill was discovered in March 2008.

Lanuza left the job after being confronted and in November 2008 she was charged with making false entries into the company's accounting ledger, dishonestly obtaining direct credit through the BNZ online system, and dishonestly drawing cheques from the company between July 2003 and March 2008.

Granados, 49, was charged as an accomplice to her partner and faces one count of laundering money through bank accounts.

The company employed Lanuza from July 2002 to March 2008 in a senior role of financial controller.

The managing director was often travelling overseas on business trips for up to five weeks at a time, so Lanuza would supervise all aspects of the business while he was away.

But Lanuza was often absent from work, complaining of ill-health.

"Her days of sickness, we now see, coincided with days the money was withdrawn from the business bank accounts at SkyCity and other cash withdrawals," said the director.

The fraudulent withdrawals she made were labelled as payments for supplies or customer refunds, using the names of other staff members who were left devastated at being implicated. When the fraud was discovered, all creditors - both local and overseas - had to be contacted to confirm the true amounts owed.

"The company financial records were a complete mess," said the director.