| NEW YORK, July 2
NEW YORK, July 2 A woman who once worked as an
executive at jeweler Tiffany & Co was arrested on
Tuesday in connection with the theft of more than $1 million
worth of jewelry from her former employer, authorities said.
Prosecutors and the jewelry company would not confirm that
the jewels had been stolen from Tiffany & Co, the fabled New
York luxury jewelry store.
Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, 46, was taken into custody at her
home in Darien, Connecticut, accused of wire fraud and
interstate transportation of stolen property, U.S. Attorney
Preet Bharara said in a statement that accompanied a federal
As an executive in product development, Lederhaas-Okun was
allowed to take jewelry to potential manufacturers to determine
the cost of production, Bharara said.
Typically the items would be returned to the store, but
Lederhaas-Okun would report the jewelry missing or damaged, the
complaint said. It said the items included bracelets, earrings
and pendants made of diamonds, platinum and gold.
Bharara said that instead of returning the items,
Lederhaas-Okun sold them for some $1.3 million to a leading
international buyer and reseller, falsely claiming they were her
"As alleged, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun went from a vice
president at a high-end jewelry company to jewel thief," Bharara
said in the statement.
The criminal complaint does not name Tiffany explicitly -
only saying she worked at "one of the world's premier high-end
jewelers (which is) headquartered in midtown Manhattan" where
the items went missing. But Tiffany confirmed that
Lederhaas-Okun was a former employee, and several of her online
profiles show she held several positions there.
She left her job in a downsizing in February, when the
jewelry company undertook an inventory to find she had checked
out some 165 pieces of jewelry in four months that had not been
returned, the complaint said.
The company conducts a daily inventory of items valued at
more than $25,000, but each of the missing pieces was valued at
less than $10,000, it said.
If convicted, she faces a maximum potential sentence of 30
years in prison.
Her attorney did not immediately return calls seeking