Woman accused of taking 500 pounds of gold from job

NEW YORK Fri May 1, 2009 3:29pm EDT

Gold bars are displayed at the Ginza Tanaka store in Tokyo in this file photo from September 18, 2008.REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Gold bars are displayed at the Ginza Tanaka store in Tokyo in this file photo from September 18, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Call her the modern day Goldfinger. A New York woman was charged Wednesday with stealing as much as $12 million in gold bullion and jewelry over a period of six years, lifting the ill-gotten booty from her employer by concealing the stash in the lining of her pocketbook.

The district attorney for New York City's borough of Queens said Teresa Tambunting, 50, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of first-degree grand larceny and first-degree criminal possession of stolen property from Jacmel Jewelry Inc.

"The defendant is accused of establishing a virtual mining operation ... which siphoned off millions of dollars worth of the precious metal from her employer," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.

In January, an inventory audit conducted at Jacmel revealed that nearly 850 pounds (386 kg) of gold merchandise worth about $12 million was unaccounted for, Brown's statement added.

After an investigation was initiated, Tambunting returned to Jacmel a suitcase containing 66 pounds (30 kg) of gold. On February 13, an additional 448 pounds (204 kg) of gold was recovered from Tambunting's residence, the DA said.

Jack Rahmey, Jacmel's president, declined to comment.

Spot gold traded at around $890 an ounce Thursday.

(Reporting by Frank Tang; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

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