Ex-Tiffany exec sentenced to year in prison - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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>>

  • Parts of Central Park vandalized

    Parts of Central Park vandalized

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:34 AM EDT2014-07-22 11:34:16 GMT
    The NYPD says several structures in Central Park were damaged by vandals over the weekend. A gazebo at Wagner Cove near park lake was pushed off its foundation. A handrail at the Bow Bridge boating landing was broken and a bench was thrown in the water nearby. Vandals also threw a rock through the window of a kiosk near West 72nd St. Among other damage, irrigation hoses were torn up at Strawberry Fields and trash cans were toppled near Central Park West.
    The NYPD says several structures in Central Park were damaged by vandals over the weekend. A gazebo at Wagner Cove near park lake was pushed off its foundation. A handrail at the Bow Bridge boating landing was broken and a bench was thrown in the water nearby. Vandals also threw a rock through the window of a kiosk near West 72nd St. Among other damage, irrigation hoses were torn up at Strawberry Fields and trash cans were toppled near Central Park West.
  • A look inside the exclusive Beautique

    A look inside the exclusive Beautique

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:38 PM EDT2014-07-22 02:38:38 GMT
    Beautique is Midtown Manhattan's new celebrity hangout with a touristy address and locals-only feel.The upscale restaurant gives way to a luxe lounge. Everyone here looks like a million bucks and has a bank account to match. It's no wonder celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio feel right at home.
    Beautique is Midtown Manhattan's new celebrity hangout with a touristy address and locals-only feel.The upscale restaurant gives way to a luxe lounge. Everyone here looks like a million bucks and has a bank account to match. It's no wonder celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio feel right at home.
  • NYPD arrest suspect in police assault

    NYPD arrest suspect in police assault

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-07-22 02:03:14 GMT
    A suspect has been arrested on a charge of assaulting a police officer in Upper Manhattan. Police say the assault happened around 1:30 a.m. Sunday at The Clinton Houses at East 104th Street. They say the officer and her partner were patrolling the area when they came upon four people smoking marijuana.
    A suspect has been arrested on a charge of assaulting a police officer in Upper Manhattan. Police say the assault happened around 1:30 a.m. Sunday at The Clinton Houses at East 104th Street. They say the officer and her partner were patrolling the area when they came upon four people smoking marijuana.
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

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