Former Tiffany & Co. VP Sentenced to a Year in Jail For $2 Million Jewelry Theft

A former Tiffany & Co. executive was sentenced on Monday to a year in prison for the theft of more than $2 million worth of goods from the brand’s famous Fifth Avenue store in New York City.

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun pleaded guilty earlier this year, as it was discovered that numerous items she had checked out over the years as part of her job as vice president of product development had never been returned. The discrepancy was found after she was let go from the company as part of a downsizing, after 22 years of employment there.

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The judge called it “an inexplicable act of self-destruction by someone who didn’t need the money.”

She really probably didn’t. The 46-year-old made $360,000 a year, and lived in a $4 million home in Connecticut, which has been on the market since her arrest. He lawyer claims that she “cracked under the pressures of not being able to have children, getting passed over for a promotion at Tiffany and seeing her marriage crumble,” as well as suffering from depression.

U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe said that he believed the defendant deserved longer than the six months she was asking for because “this was not a crime of impulse … The defendant made many bad decisions over many years.”

Apparently, Lederhaas-Okun would check out pieces of jewelry valued at less than $10,000 to avoid detection, since Tiffany's does a daily inventory of everything over $25,000. She then sold it to an unidentified international dealer. She collected $1.3 million over several years, and several of the missing pieces were found in her home.

When she was sentenced, she became tearful and told the judge, “I’m very sorry for everything that’s happened … I can’t express my remorse enough.”

I bet! Getting caught doing something you know is wrong is a bummer. I don’t think I know a girl that wouldn’t mind a little bling from Tiffany & Co., but stealing is just a big old no-no. Especially when you have the means to purchase it yourself. And I doubt Tiffany’s employee discount, if they even have one, is of the five-fingered variety.

Why do you think she stole the items?


Image via Jens Kronen/Flickr

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