Former Tiffany executive admits stealing over $2million worth of jewellery

'I knew it was illegal to steal, and I did so regardless… I'm very sorry', she told a judge

Former Tiffany & Co vice-president, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, pleaded guilty in a New York federal court on Friday to stealing $2.1 million (£1.3 million) worth of jewellery from the fashion house in a case that has shaken the industry.

Appearing in federal court in Manhattan, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun admitted she had stashed the jewellery in her home in Darien, Connecticut, where she was arrested earlier this month.

"I knew it was illegal to steal, and I did so regardless… I'm very sorry," she told a judge before pleading guilty.

Working in the high-end jewellery house since 1991, Lederhaas-Okun stole a total of 165 pieces, including diamond and gold rings, bracelets, earrings and pendants, in a period of 13 months.

She sold them to an international New York-based company that buys and resells jewellery. Other items were found in her home.

The 46-year-old has been charged with wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.

According to WWD, she faces 46 months in prison following a plea agreement that will forfeit $2.1 million and restore $2.2 million. Her sentencing will take place on 10 December.

The theft was discovered when Tiffany undertook an in-depth inventory in November 2012. Lederhaas-Okun left the company by February this year and on 2 July was arrested.

The items included numerous diamond bracelets in 18-carat gold, diamond drop and hoop earrings in platinum or 18-carat gold, diamond rings in platinum, rings with precious stones in 18-carat gold, and platinum and diamond pendants.

"Diamonds are forever but stolen diamonds are not," said Manhattan US attorney Preet Bharara in a statement on Friday.

"Over a period of years, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, an executive at a high-end jewellery company, looted her employer's jewellery inventory and then resold millions of dollars' worth of the merchandise in order to enrich herself. Today, she stands convicted for her thievery and faces the prospect of prison."

Authorities alleged Lederhaas-Okun purposely checked out items valued at under $10,000 apiece to avoid detection.

The company takes a daily inventory of all checked-out items worth more than $25,000.

She will be sentenced on 10 December.

Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Travel
Streets ahead: Venice
travelWhat's trending on your wishlist?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

    Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

    Day In a Page

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect