In the grip of methamphetamine addiction, a Taranaki woman stole nearly $48,000 of inheritance money from a 63-year-old beneficiary, claiming it was in part to survive.
Over 17 days, Shanley Teana Hoeta made 191 transactions on the man's Eftpos card, spending a total of $47,789.87.
Hoeta, 37, was living in a motel at the time and struggling with meth addiction and gambling issues, it was heard in New Plymouth District Court on Monday.
Also in receipt of a benefit, Hoeta has two of her nine children in her care, it was heard.
Her offending took place between December 21 last year and January 6 and came to an end only when the man noticed the fraudulent activity and cancelled his card.
Hoeta had taken the man's card without his knowledge and used it at various locations across New Plymouth, purchasing goods, gift cards, and making cash withdrawals.
She tried to use it six more times after it was cancelled.
In court, defence lawyer Samantha Hunt sought a sentencing start point of 21 months' jail with an end sentence of home detention.
Although Hoeta had missed several opportunities to meet with the man through the restorative justice process, Hunt said she was remorseful and "felt very bad about what she's done to the victim".
Hoeta's background was "full of trauma" and she has spent the past year trying to overcome her addiction and get her life on track.
Police prosecutor Zane Webby argued for a much higher start point of 36 months in prison, saying the man was out of pocket a significant amount and there had been no acknowledgement of that from Hoeta.
Judge Lynne Harrison said Hoeta was "no stranger to the court", having a "fairly extensive" record of offending, including for dishonesty.
But her last conviction was in 2014 and Judge Harrison said it was a "shame" that she was back "in the system".
Judge Harrison said the man had considered Hoeta a friend and she had taken advantage of that.
He had inherited the money that Hoeta had stolen, she said.
"You have deprived him of that."
Hoeta claimed her actions were partly "out of survival and as a result of pressure from others", Judge Harrison said, referencing an advice-to-court report.
The offending was premeditated and the extent of the harm caused was significant, she said.
"$47,789.87 - that is a significant amount of money and that is a significant amount of money to have spent in that 17-day period."
On the admitted charge of using a document for pecuniary advantage, Judge Harrison took a start point of two years' jail.
Following a discount for Hoeta's guilty plea, an end sentence of 18 months' jail was reached and then converted to nine months' home detention.
Hoeta was also ordered to repay the man the full amount she had stolen at $50 a week.