Malcolm and Maryanne Pearce say the battle continues to rebuild their reputation, which they say has been "totally destroyed" by a once-trusted former employee.

Pearce Flooring owner Mr Pearce said he spent 40 years building his businesses only to have it ruined in the space of two years by Tania Malcolm.

Malcolm, 38, who was referred to in court proceedings by her maiden name Whiteman, stole about $305,000 from Pearce Flooring over a two-year period. She was yesterday sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay reparation of $150,000 to the Pearces.

The Pearces spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post after the sentencing about the huge toll Whiteman's offending had on them.


"We've sold everything we could possibly sell. Three weeks ago we sold our other business Warehouse Carpets but we still can't cover the debt she's put us in," Mr Pearce said.

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Woman jailed for stealing $305K from employers

Mrs Pearce added: "We are as straight as the day is long, we're not dodgy people yet we are the ones being punished for Tania's dishonesty - we are the ones with the bad reputation just trying to stay afloat but being treated like the criminals."

Tania Whiteman at her sentencing in the Rotorua District Court yesterday. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
Tania Whiteman at her sentencing in the Rotorua District Court yesterday. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Mr and Mrs Pearce said Whiteman had never expressed any remorse for her offending.

"There has been no apology, no remorse . . . I don't believe we will see a cent of those reparations," Mrs Pearce said.

"It's not over for us, we still have the IRD after us, our reputation has been destroyed, but we're not going to let her offending make us throw in the towel. It's just hard to see our retirement go down the gurgler."

Mr Pearce said they now had tight processes in place and found it difficult to trust people.

"I just want to make sure she never gets employed in this city again. I don't want anyone else to go through what we've had to go through, it's exhausting," Mrs Pearce said.

The couple said they were disappointed not only in the sentence but also the "drawn out" court process.

"The hard work for us is just beginning. There's been no closure with this sentence, our battle is nowhere near over."

Mr Pearce said he and his wife were "incredibly grateful" to loyal clients and staff who had stood by them and supported them throughout their ordeal.