The brother of a "normal" bank manager who swindled Westpac out of more than $460,000 over a 20-year period says he is shocked by her actions.
Heather Scott used her management position in Alexandra to siphon money from fake accounts opened in the names of nine friends and family members, including husband Hugh Scott and brother James Walker.
The 54-year-old appeared in the Invercargill District Court on Tuesday to plead guilty to 33 charges, including 21 of dishonestly using a document, 11 of forgery and one of theft.
She is behind bars after being remanded in custody until September 24 for sentencing.
Walker described his sister as being happily married with two daughters and four grandchildren. "She didn't spend up large, not that any of us saw, anyway. It's a huge shock."
Detective Sean Cairns of the Invercargill Police said Scott had been in the banking industry for 24 years. She began offending in 1989 when she opened a credit card account under her husband's name without his knowledge.
Over the years she opened several other bogus accounts and forged signatures to access loans, the largest of them $120,000 from an account in her husband's name. Scott was discovered through an internal investigation after bank bosses grew suspicious.
She stole $463,498.80 and has repaid about $36,000 from her superannuation fund. Westpac has honoured the debt to the nine affected account holders.
Other relatives were unwilling to comment but colleagues and friends of the couple say they were "normal".
A neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said Scott and her husband appeared to be a "happy, regular couple".
Cairns said he could not discuss how Scott's husband had remained oblivious to her offending until after sentencing.
Westpac media relations manager Craig Dowling said the bank had taken Scott's behaviour seriously and staff had ensured victims hadn't suffered financial loss. "There is always considerable impact on people as a result of fraud, particularly in a tight community."
* Westpac woes
July 2009 - Long-term customer Roger Griffiths withdraws $192,000 in $20 notes from his Westpac account after the bank refuses his mortgage application.
May 2009 - Rotorua couple Leo Gao and Kara Gao-Hurring flee the country after a Westpac employee credits Leo's account with $10 million overdraft.
May 2009 - A Napier couple find $12m mistakenly deposited into their account.
September 2006 - A blunder during a mailing campaign to 100,000 customers sees thousands of Westpac customers receive bills for credit cards they no longer had.