Stephanie Ann Elmiger, 44, gained her boss' trust – he rewarded her with increasing levels of business and financial responsibility.
She repaid him by siphoning off company funds to support the extravagant lifestyle she'd become accustomed to.
Today the solo mother faced her day of reckoning in the Rotorua District Court where Judge Tony Snell sentenced her to 2 years 8 months behind bars.
He also ordered her to pay $192,594.17 reparation to the man she duped, Richard Blakeney-Williams Snr, owner of Taupō's Central Motor Group Ltd.
After a lengthy judge-alone trial last year, Judge Snell, in a reserved decision, found Elmiger guilty of more than 200 charges of theft by breaching a special relationship over two-and-a-half years, beginning in November 2013.
He told Elmiger she had breached trust, developed a sense of self-entitlement and had shown little or no remorse when interviewed.
At the start of the sentencing, Blakeney-Williams Snr was supported by his wife as he read a victim impact statement outlining the way Elmiger had won his trust and confidence.
He told how she'd gradually encouraged and convinced him to increase her responsibilities with the company he'd owned for many years. As a result, he entrusted her with management decisions and financial control.
"I gave her the opportunity to run the company, I also regarded her as a friend. included her in family occasions, when we discovered the extent of her fraud involving my company, our family trust, my daughter's business I couldn't believe the scale of her deceit, her colossal breach of trust."
He had been forced to refinance his business and experienced extreme stress.
He'd been hospitalised in Sydney for eight days suffering from a serious breakdown. He now relied on anti-depressants and sleeping pills to get him through his days and nights.
Judge Snell began his sentencing by noting Elmiger had originally faced 435 charges, he'd dismissed 179 during the hearing. A total of 256 had required his decision in which he found her guilty of more than 200.
He noted Elmiger had committed credit card fraud, concealed bank transfers and committed fraud with Central Motor Group's payroll system, describing her offending as "bold and blatant over a sustained period".
From victim impact statements he'd seen it was obvious it had a profound and dramatic effect on the Blakeney-Williams family, he said.
Referring to a pre-sentence report, he said it was apparent Elmiger had been using the company's money to support her lifestyle which included beauty treatments and improvements to her home.
She had demonstrated a sense of entitlement, failed to accept responsibility for her offending and attempted to minimise it.
"You have shown little or no remorse considering yourself the victim," Judge Snell told Elmiger, later saying hers was sophisticated offending for personal gain.
He noted letters from a past employer and Elmiger's present boss who spoke highly of her and emphasised they continued to trust her despite the guilty verdicts she had accrued.
He took into account she was a first time offender and a letter from a clinical psychologist indicating her daughter suffered from difficulties he wouldn't go into in open court.
Elmiger's lawyer Jonathan Temm argued for a sentence of fewer than two years imprisonment which would have made her eligible for home detention, saying prison would do nothing useful for Elmiger. He submitted she was remorseful and could make immediate reparation from the sale of her home.
Representing the Crown Anna McConachy called for a longer sentence.
Imposing reparation of $192,594.17 Judge Snell said that represented the $140,654.42 she'd stolen from Central Motor Group, the remainder equated to the more than $50,000 spent on forensic accounting and accountancy fees after the thefts' discovery plus interest accrued.
Elmiger remained impassive through her sentencing, her eyes rarely leaving the judge's face.
Both she and the Blakeney-Williams were flanked by large groups of supporters.
Shaking with emotion outside the court after the sentencing Blakeney-Williams repeatedly thanked God his former employer was in jail.
"I'm beyond relieved, she is an evil, evil woman, she nearly decimated us ... what more can I say?" he said, voice and hands trembling.