A former vice president at Tiffany & Co. was arrested by the FBI Tuesday under suspicion of swiping more than $1.2 million in jewelry and selling it on the international market.
Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun is accused of checking out 165 pieces of jewelry between November 2012 and February 2013, when she was let go from the company during downsizing.
"As alleged, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun went from a vice president at a high-end jewelry company to jewel thief," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. "She abused her access to valuable jewelry in order to steal and then resell over one million dollars’ worth of items that she falsely represented as her own, as the complaint describes."
"Her arrest shows that no matter how privileged their position in a company, employees who steal will face the full consequences of the law,” Bharara said.
Lederhaas-Okun, who served as vice president of Product Development at the company's Manhattan headquarters, was allowed to frequently check out pieces to work with potential manufacturers during the development process. She allegedly made false statements, including lying about where some of the jewelry was when she was laid off, and kept some of the jewelry that normally would have been returned.
"Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun took advantage of the access her employment afforded her to expensive jewelry," said FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos. "She allegedly stole numerous items, sold them for over a million dollars, then engaged in a series of lies in an attempt to cover up the theft. A privileged position in a prestigious company does not insulate a thief from arrest and prosecution.”
Lederhaas-Okun faces one count of wire fraud and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, which combined, carry a maximum prison sentence of 30 years in prison.