A woman who experiences memory loss and was left severely impaired as the result of a brain aneurysm was taken advantage of by her former friend.

Raewyn Hunt discovered that her friend's funds were being sent to her own personal account and ripped her off by going on a $23,536.91 spending spree.

She purchased items such as a bed, television, clothes and shoes from various stores around Whanganui.

Hunt pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced in Whanganui District Court on Thursday.

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Judge Chris Sygrove said it was a significant fall from grace for the defendant.

"Your explanation was, you knew you shouldn't have spent the money, but didn't know where it came from and just thought you'd become rich.

"That is an incredibly naive response. You knew that the funds weren't yours and you knew that you shouldn't have spent the money.

"In my view, you don't need supervision to tell you that. What you do need is to be taught a lesson and you will be serving a sentence of four months' community detention."

In sentencing Hunt to community detention, the Judge took into account the fact that she had no previous convictions at 56 years old.

He also noted the remorse, embarrassment and regret Hunt said that she felt.

Judge Sygrove ordered Hunt to pay the money back in full as reparation, starting with $250 by the end of the day and $50 per week subsequently.