Ex-Tiffany exec sentenced to year in prison

Ex-Tiffany exec sentenced to year in prison

Posted: Updated:
By TOM HAYS
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - A former executive from Tiffany & Co. was sentenced to one year and one day in prison Monday for stealing more than $1.2 million in jewelry from its famous Fifth Avenue location, a crime a judge called an inexplicable act of self-destruction by someone who didn't need the money.

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun had pleaded guilty this year to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. Her lawyer had asked for a sentence of six months while the government sought at least three years.

"I'm very sorry for everything that's happened," a tearful Lederhaas-Okun told the judge before hearing the sentence in federal court in New York City. "I can't express my remorse enough."

U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe rejected prosecutors' arguments that the 46-year-old defendant was motivated by greed, noting that she came from a privileged background, made $360,000 a year at Tiffany and lived in a $4 million house in upscale Darien, Conn. Her attorney claimed that she suffered from depression and cracked under the pressures of not being able to have children, getting passed over for a promotion at Tiffany and seeing her marriage crumble.

But Gardephe said it was impossible to know what set Lederhaas-Okun on a path of "self-destruction which could only have one outcome - disaster." He also said she deserved more than six months because of how long the thefts went on and the fact that she tried to resell some of the jewelry.

"This was not a crime of impulse," he said. "The defendant made many bad decisions over many years."

As vice president of product development, Lederhaas-Okun had authority to check out jewelry from Tiffany to provide to potential manufacturers to determine production costs. Authorities alleged that after she left Tiffany in February, the company discovered she had checked out 164 items that were never returned.

The items included 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.

When confronted about the missing jewelry, Lederhaas-Okun claimed that she had left some of it behind at Tiffany and that some had been lost or damaged, according to a criminal complaint. But an investigation found that Lederhaas-Okun resold some of the goods to an unidentified international dealer for more than $1.3 million. Other items were found in her home.

Bank records showed that since January 2011, the dealer wrote 75 checks to her or her husband for amounts of up to $47,400, the complaint said. Investigators also recovered purchase forms signed by Lederhaas-Okun that said the items were her personal property.

Authorities alleged Lederhaas-Okun purposely checked out items valued at under $10,000 apiece to avoid detection. The company takes a daily inventory of all checked-out items worth more than $25,000.

Follow Hays on Twitter at https://twitter.com/APtomhays

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:37:52 GMT
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
  • Times Square to go gold for cancer research

    Times Square to go gold for cancer research

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-08-19 23:04:06 GMT
    Things are looking up for cute little Cami King. Not only is her cancer in remission, she also just got to meet Mickey, Minnie and Elmo in Times Square. But, if you can believe it, there's something else this 4-year-old is even more excited about: Times Square is going gold. The chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition announced the crossroads of the world is going to light up in gold to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research.
    Things are looking up for cute little Cami King. Not only is her cancer in remission, she also just got to meet Mickey, Minnie and Elmo in Times Square. But, if you can believe it, there's something else this 4-year-old is even more excited about: Times Square is going gold. The chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition announced the crossroads of the world is going to light up in gold to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research.
  • Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 5:42 PM EDT2014-08-19 21:42:12 GMT
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he makes about $150 a day in tips dressing up as the Statue of Liberty. He says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he makes about $150 a day in tips dressing up as the Statue of Liberty. He says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
Powered by WorldNow

4739 NW 53rd Avenue, Sutie B
Gainesville, FL 32653

Phone: (352) 371-0051

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices