DARIEN, Conn. -- Former Tiffany executive Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, a Darien resident, was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for stealing more than $2.1 million in jewelry from her former employer, according to a statement released by the U.S. attorney.
Lederhaas-Okun, a former vice president of product development for Tiffany & Co., was sentenced Monday by Preet Bharar, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
“Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun has learned the price she must pay for stealing millions of dollars worth of fine jewelry from her employer – loss of her liberty and forfeiture of her ill-gotten gains,” Bharar said in a statement.
The 47-year-old Darien woman stole more than 165 items of jewelry, which she then sold to another company in Manhattan, which paid either her or one of her relatives, according to the statement.
She was also ordered to forfeit $2,114,873 and pay $2,239,873 in restitution, according to the statement.
Lederhaas-Okun was arrested July 2, pleaded guilty July 26 and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe.
According to court proceedings and documents, here is what happened:
From at least 2008 until February 2013, Lederhaas-Okun worked at Tiffany's midtown Manhattan headquarters. Her job duties included ensuring that product designs could be manufactured and, to that end, she had authority to check out items for work-related reasons, for example, to provide the jewelry to potential manufacturers to determine the cost of production.
From November 2012 and February 2013, she checked out more than 165 pieces of jewelry with a retail value of more than $1.2 million, including numerous diamond bracelets, platinum or gold diamond drop and hoop earrings, platinum diamond rings, and platinum and diamond pendants. She then sold some if not all of this jewelry for $1.3 million to another unidentified company, a leading international buyer and reseller of jewelry with an office in midtown Manhattan.
Lederhaas-Okun admitted to stealing more than $2 million worth of jewelry in this manner.
To conceal her theft, she made false statements to Tiffany. For example, after she was fired in February, Lederhaas-Okun told company officials that she had only recently checked out the missing jewelry to create a PowerPoint presentation and that a draft of the presentation could be found on her office computer.
However, the missing jewelry had been checked out months earlier, her supervisor was unaware of any such presentation and there was no draft presentation on her computer.
Also, she told Tiffany officials that the missing jewelry could be found in a white envelope in her office, but no such envelop was found in a search of her office shortly after her departure.
Read about her arrest in July here in The Daily Voice.