Written by David Gurliacci.
A judge has sentenced Ingrid Ledeerhaas-Okun of Darien, a former Tiffany & Co. executive, to just over a year in prison and ordered her to pay $4.3 million for stealing more than $2.1 million in jewelry.
In addition to being sentenced to a year and a day in prison, Leederhaas-Okun 47, was also sentenced to one year of supervised release, ordered to forfeit $2,114,873 and to pay $2,239,873 in restitution.
"With today’s sentence," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, "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."
She pleaded guilty on July 26, 2013 and was sentenced Dec. 23 by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe in federal court in Manhattan. She worked out of Tiffany's Manhattan offices.
From at least 2008 until February 2013, Lederhaas-Okun worked as a vice president of product development at the midtown Manhattan headquarters of Tiffany & Co.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York gave this account of Lederhaas-Okun's crimes in a news releaseissued Monday (quotes are from the release; Tiffany is referred to as "the jewelry company"):
"Her duties and responsibilities included ensuring that product designs could be manufactured and, to that end, she had authority to check out jewelry belonging to the jewelry company for work-related reasons, for example, to provide the jewelry to potential manufacturers to determine the cost of production.
"Between November 2012 and February 2013, Lederhaas-Okun abused her position and authority at the jewelry company to check 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 company, a leading international buyer and reseller of jewelry with an office in midtown Manhattan (the “jewelry reseller”).
"The jewelry reseller paid for the merchandise that Lederhaas-Okun had stolen either by paying her or her relative, in transactions arranged either by Lederhaas-Okun or a friend working on her behalf.
"In total, Lederhaas-Okun admitted to stealing over $2 million worth of jewelry in this manner.
"To conceal her theft, Lederhaas-Okun repeatedly made false statements to the jewelry company.
"For example, after her termination in February 2013, she told the jewelry company representatives 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 jewelry had been checked out months earlier, her supervisor was unaware of any such presentation being worked on by Lederhaas-Okun, and there was no draft presentation on her computer.
"In addition, Lederhaas-Okun claimed the jewelry in question could be found in a white envelope in her office, but a search of her office shortly after her departure did not yield any such envelope."Editor's note: In quoting text, Darien Patch may change punctuation, editorial style, spelling and paragraph breaks from the original to Patch editorial style but will not add words without indicating the addition with brackets (that look like this: "[ ]") or delete words without using elipses (that look like this: "[...]"). When possible, a link to the original text online will be given.