A woman who fleeced a Wellington travel agency of about $20,000 over two years has been convicted of 15 fraud charges.

Ranola Balm, 37, pleaded guilty in Wellington District Court today to falsifying accounts, using documents for pecuniary advantage, and theft. She will be sentenced in February.

Balm's offending began in September 2008, Judge Carrie Wainwright was told.

She had no previous convictions.


Her lawyer John Miller said it was unfortunate the Mt Victoria woman and her family had already had to face the glare of publicity because police failed to lay charges for six months after her employers first complained about the missing money.

The travel agency owners' annoyance about the prompt police action when Prime Minister John Key laid a complaint over a recorded conversation between him and John Banks sparked a front page story in a local newspaper.

Mr Miller said Balm had confessed to her bosses but it took police "some time" to respond.

The publicity triggered the involvement of Police Commissioner Peter Marshall, who apologised to the complainants for the delay.

His client had been arrested, was fully co-operative with the police and admitted her guilt.

The initial figure - alleged to be around $80,000 - had been reduced considerably, the lawyer said. It was now $20,000 "all up".

A police summary of facts, which was not read out in court, needed to be amended.

Judge Wainwright ordered pre-sentence and reparation reports. She remanded Balm on continued bail.