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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tiffany Exec Arrested for Stealing $1.3M in Jewelry

The Linkedin photo of Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun. 

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, a former VP of Design & Product Development at Tiffany & Co., was arrested Tuesday morning at her residence in Darien, Conn., for allegedly stealing nearly $1.3 million worth of jewelry from her employer. She was scheduled to be arraigned in Manhattan federal court later in the day to face charges of wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.

Lederhaas-Okun used her executive position to allegedly “check out” 165 pieces of jewelry with a retail value of more than $1.2 million, including diamond bracelets, platinum or gold diamond drop and hoop earrings, platinum diamond rings, and platinum and diamond pendants, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

She then allegedly “sold some if not all” of this jewelry for $1.3 million to a company the feds describe as “a leading international buyer and reseller of jewelry with an office in midtown Manhattan,” according to the statement.

In addition to the jewelry under question, federal prosecutors allege that in November 2012, following an announcement by Tiffany that it was going to undertake a full physical inventory review, Lederhaas-Okun said that approximately $1.5 million worth of jewelry which she had checked out would have to be written off. “However, none of that jewelry was ever returned to the jewelry company, contrary to the usual practice of accounting for inventory, such as damaged jewelry, that would have to be written off because it had been rendered unusable in some way,” federal officials said in the statement

Prosecutors allege that Lederhaas-Okun made repeated false statements to the luxury jeweler. “For example, after her termination in February 2013, she told the jewelry company that she had only recently checked out the missing jewelry in anticipation of creating a PowerPoint presentation for her supervisor, and that a draft of the presentation could be found on her office computer. However, the missing pieces of jewelry had been checked out months earlier, her supervisor was unaware of any such presentation being worked on … and there was no draft presentation on her computer.”

Lederhaas-Okun also claimed the jewelry in question could be found in a white envelope in her office, but after a search of her office, the envelope wasn’t recovered, prosecutors allege.

The statement did not identify Tiffany by name. However, a Linkedin page for Lederhaas-Okun shows that she worked for the luxury retail jeweler from January 1991 till March 2013, including a six-year stint as VP of Design & Product Development. 

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