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Tuesday
Jul022013

Tiffany Executive Nabbed for Allegedly Stealing Jewels

Jin Lee/Bloomberg News(NEW YORK) -- An executive at Tiffany & Co., who worked at the upscale jeweler for more than 20 years, is accused of stealing more than $1 million in bling, including diamond rings and platinum pendants, according to the FBI.

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, 46, a vice president of product development, allegedly stole the jewelry over at least two years, reselling the pieces to an unidentified Manhattan jewelry company, and then lying about their whereabouts.

Lederhass-Okun was arrested Tuesday morning at her home in Connecticut and charged with wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property. She faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.

"As alleged, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun went from a vice president at a high-end jewelry company to jewel thief," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. "She abused her access to valuable jewelry in order to steal and then resell over $1 million worth of items that she falsely represented as her own... Her arrest shows that no matter how privileged their position in a company, employees who steal will face the full consequences of the law."

Lederhass-Okun allegedly stole 165 pieces of jewelry worth $1.2 million "including numerous diamond bracelets, platinum or gold diamond drop and hoop earrings, platinum diamond rings, and platinum and diamond pendants," according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday morning in federal court in New York.

As part of her job, Lederhass-Okun had access to Tiffany designs and pieces which she could access and ship to manufacturers. That authority came with the ability to "write off" inventory that become unsalable because it had been damaged, according to the complaint. Those pieces should have been returned to the company to be destroyed, but instead were pocketed and sold to a third party.

"In deference to the US Attorney's investigation, we are not in a position to comment at this time," Tiffany spokesman Carson Glover told ABC News.

Lederhass-Okun has yet to appear in court and enter a plea. She was being held in a New York jail.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio