Ex-Tiffany Exec Accused|of $1.2M Jewelry Theft

     (CN) – A former executive at Tiffany & Co. stole 165 pieces of jewelry from her employer and sold them for $1.3 million, federal prosecutors say.
     A criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday charges Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, the vice president of product development at Tiffany from January 2010 to February 2013, with wire fraud and the interstate transportation of stolen property.
     Prosecutors say Okun had the authority to check out jewelry for work, such as to show pieces to a manufacturer or to create a presentation. Okun allegedly checked out about 165 pieces of jewelry worth $1.2 million and then “wrote off” the goods as damaged or lost.
     “This jewelry included, among other items, numerous diamond bracelets in 18-carat gold; diamond drop and hoop earrings in platinum or 18-carat gold; diamond rings in platinum; rings with precious stones in 18-carat gold; and platinum and diamond pendants,” prosecutors claim in Manhattan Federal Court.
     They say Okun knew the midtown Manhattan jeweler counted each piece of inventory worth more than $25,000, so she checked out items worth less than $10,000 each.
     After Okun was laid off on Feb. 13, 2013 due to downsizing, Tiffany representatives questioned her about the missing inventory via phone and email, according to the complaint.
     Okun “gave inconsistent accounts about the checked-out jewelry,” prosecutors say, including how long she had checked them out and where she left them.
     She did not return any of the purportedly damaged inventory according to company practice, the complaint states.
     Instead, she sold the items to an unnamed reseller in midtown Manhattan for $1.3 million and deposited the money in a bank account she owned with her husband, who is not charged in the complaint.
     Prosecutors say the former executive signed purchase forms with the reseller in which she lied and claimed the property was hers.
     The reseller paid Okun $714,585 and paid her husband – through a female acquaintance – about $580,040 for the stolen jewelry, prosecutors say.
     The items Okun sold matched Tiffany’s missing inventory, according to the complaint.
     She faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.     

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