For years Christine Tiongson worked her way up the chain at McDonalds, gaining the trust of her bosses.
Once she became a manager at the Bombay restaurant she was given the authority to refund customers using a swipe card and over four years she used that position to embezzle $166,000.
An offer to pay back $2000 and surprisingly-supportive statements from her former and current bosses were not enough to save her from being jailed when she was sentenced at Pukekohe District Court this afternoon.
Judge Rob Ronayne jailed Tiongson for two years three months.
The court heard how the theft began because of her "major financial problems" but there was no reference to what that entailed specifically.
The judge only said the 53-year-old's circumstances were unfortunate but not particularly remarkable.
Outside court the defendant's husband John refused to explain the reason for the offending or make any comment.
In early 2014, an internal fraud report found disproportionately high refunds being paid out, which dovetailed with shifts when Tiongson was acting as manager.
She admitted she had her hand in the till during a disciplinary hearing and was duly dismissed.
But the six-figure theft did not stop her getting employment with another restaurant chain - Mexicali Fresh.
Her boss there wrote a "glowing reference" for Tiongson and said they would continue to employ her if she was given home detention.
Her defence counsel was also "somewhat surprised" to see the franchise owner at McDonalds was keen for her to avoid a custodial sentence.
Judge Ronayne, however, did not share their sympathy.
"I'm not sure she had any belief she was entitled to take the money. On the contrary, I think she knew perfectly well she shouldn't take it," he said.
"The motivation for this was a combination of misplaced need but also some greed. I can't ignore the comments to the probation officer that having got away with it, it simply became a habit."
The judge also ordered her to pay back $12,000 of the stolen cash - $2000 in the next two days and the rest in installments.
McDonalds refused to comment.