Ex-Tiffany Executive Charged in $1.3 Million Jewel Theft

A former Tiffany & Co. (TIF) executive was charged with stealing jewelry from the company and selling it for $1.3 million.

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, 46, a former Tiffany vice president, was arrested today at her home in Darien, Connecticut, and charged with wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan.

Prosecutors claim that from January 2011 to February 2013, Lederhaas-Okun checked out 165 pieces of jewelry, including diamond bracelets, platinum and gold earrings and platinum and diamond pendants, then sold them to an unnamed jewelry reseller in Manhattan.

In a criminal complaint unsealed today, Elliot McGinnis, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, identified Lederhaas-Okun as a former vice president of product development at “one of the world’s premier high-end jewelers” with headquarters in Manhattan. A 2012 Tiffany & Co. regulatory filing identified Lederhaas-Okun as “Vice President, Product Development and Design.” Tiffany wasn’t named in the complaint.

Lederhaas-Okun was fired Feb. 13 “as part of an overall downsizing” at the company, McGinnis said in the criminal complaint.

Linda Buckley, a Tiffany spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that “it is correct that Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun is a former Tiffany employee.” She declined to comment on the case.

Lederhaas-Okun will be presented in Manhattan federal court later today, according to Bharara’s office. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

U.S. v. Lederhaas-Okun, 13-mg-01590, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in Manhattan federal court at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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