What a former Tiffany executive believed was a gem of a scam landed her in jail Tuesday, after she stole and then resold more than $1 million of jewelry from the tony retailer, federal officials said.
Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, a former vice president of product development, checked out more than 165 pieces of jewelry with a retail value of more than $1.2 million, including diamond bracelets, platinum diamond rings and platinum and diamond pendants, the FBI said. She then allegedly resold some, possibly all, of the items for $1.3 million to an unnamed international buyer with an office in midtown.
Lederhaas-Okun, 46, was arrested at her home in Darien, Conn., and was due in Manhattan federal court later Tuesday. She is charged with wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property. If convicted, Lederhaas-Okun could serve up to 30 years in prison.
“As alleged, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun went from a vice president at a high-end jewelry company to jewel thief,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
“Her arrest shows that no matter how privileged their position in a company, employees who steal will face the full consequences of the law.”
When confronted about the missing jewelry after she was terminated in February 2013, she lied to Tiffany officials, saying that she checked out the items to create a PowerPoint presentation for her supervisor, according to authorities. Her supervisor, however, was unaware of any such presentation, and no proof of the work existed on her computer, officials said.