A post office worker stole £3,000 from the takings and sent two-thirds of it to Nigeria to a soldier she met on a dating website.
Donna Manners transferred £2,000 she took from her employer to the man who told her he was in the army fighting in Syria.
She then sent another £1,000 to her own account in two separate transactions which were captured on CCTV by the owner of Sawley post office.
And when the theft was discovered, the victim, who had employed Manners for the previous two years, said she “felt like a fool” and has never received an apology from the 44-year-old.
Handing her a six-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, Judge Jonathan Bennett said: “She had employed you for two years and saw you as a good friend and someone she could confide in and trust.
“It is a serious offence and a severe breach of that trust.”
Jasmine Kumar, prosecuting at Derby Crown Court, said Manners, of Friar Street, Long Eaton, had worked for the owner of the post office and convenience store for two years prior to her offending.
She said during 2016 the owner noticed there were discrepancies in the takings and a Post Office investigation declared a £7,000 shortfall.
Miss Kumar said the owner was made to repay that money back from her own account “leaving her with no earnings”.
She said in December 2016 the owner noticed more discrepancies and viewed CCTV which showed Manners making the illegal transactions.
Miss Kumar said: “The defendant confirmed she had met a man through an online dating website who said he was in the army serving in Syria and asked her to transfer the money to him in Nigeria which she did.
“She also transferred money to her own HSBC account knowing she was not permitted to make personal transactions.”
Manners, a mother-of-one, was arrested, charged and later pleaded guilty to the theft of £3,082.98.
Miss Kumar read out part of the post office owner’s victim impact statement, and in which she said: “I thought she was a friend who offered a sympathetic ear during the original investigation (into the missing £7,000).
“When Miss Manners’ offending was discovered I felt like a fool, I have had no apology and I feel angry at the large amount of trust I placed in her.”
Chris Hallas, for Manners, said his client had paid back the full amount by taking out a high-interest loan and was now trying to set up her own party planning business.
As well as the suspended jail term, Judge Bennett ordered Manners to carry out 110 hours unpaid work and handed her a four-month curfew, confining her to her home address between 8pm and 6am each night.