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Ex-Tiffany Executive Charged in $1.3 Million Jewel Theft

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

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, 46, a former Tiffany vice president of product development and design, was arrested this morning at her home in Darien, Connecticut, and charged in a criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court with wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.

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 unidentified jewelry reseller in Manhattan.

Lederhaas-Okun was presented in court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis. Francis approved a bail agreement allowing her to remain free on $250,000 bond, with two cosigners and secured by $25,000 in cash or other property.

Tiffany, the world’s second-largest luxury jewelry retailer, wasn’t named in the complaint against Lederhaas-Okun. Linda Buckley, a spokeswoman for New York-based Tiffany, identified her as a former Tiffany employee. Lederhaas-Okun was fired Feb. 13 “as part of an overall downsizing” at the company, according to the criminal complaint unsealed today.

Buckley declined to comment on the case.

Lederhaas-Okun’s job gave her authority to check out jewelry for work-related purposes, according to the criminal complaint. After she was fired from Tiffany, Lederhaas-Okun gave untrue explanations for what had happened to the missing jewelry, including that she had left it in her office and that the jewelry was lost or damaged, according to the government.

Cie. Financiere Richemont SA is the world’s largest luxury jewelry maker.

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

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