Ex-Tiffany's executive sentenced in theft of $2 million in jewelry

MGN Online
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 12:00pm

A former vice president of product development at Tiffany & Co. was sentenced Monday in U.S. Federal Court in Manhattan to one year and one day in prison for stealing jewelry valued at more than $2 million from the luxury brand, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, 47, pleaded guilty on July 26 to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. Lederhaas-Okun admitted to stealing more than 165 pieces of jewelry, including diamond bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants, between November 2012 and February. She admitted to stealing jewelry starting as far back as 2005, according to a sentencing memo obtained by CNN.

Lederhaas-Okun abused her position and authority at the company to check out the merchandise and resell the pieces for her own profit to a leading international buyer and reseller of jewelry with an office in Midtown Manhattan, according to the release.

In addition to the prison term, Lederhaas-Okun of Darien, Connecticut, was also sentenced to one year of supervised release. She was also ordered to forfeit $2.1 million and to pay $2.2 million in restitution.

"With today's sentence, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun has learned the price she must pay for stealing millions of dollars' worth of fine jewelry from her employer -- loss of her liberty and forfeiture of her ill-gotten gains," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in the release.

According to the release, a relative and an unnamed friend assisted Lederhaas-Okun in the jewelry transactions. In a federal complaint filed in July, the relative was identified as her husband. More than 75 checks were made to Lederhaas-Okun and her husband, ranging from $7,525 to $47,400, the complaint said.

The former jewelry executive was terminated by Tiffany & Co. in February. The day after her termination, Tiffany's conducted an inventory review and discovered the jewelry was missing.

Lederhaas-Okun continuously made false statements about what happened to the merchandise.

According to the release, Lederhaas-Okun said she checked out the jewelry in anticipation of creating a PowerPoint presentation on her computer for her supervisor. According to the release, her supervisor was unaware of any presentation, and no draft presentation was found on her computer.

In addition, Lederhaas-Okun claimed the jewelry could be found in a white envelope in her office, but a search of her office did not produce the envelope, according to the release.

Tiffany's did not respond to CNN's requests for comment. 

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