Given the fact that Tiffany is one of the oldest and largest jewelry stores in the world, you would think that it would be impossible for an employee to successfully steal and resell $1.3 million worth of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pendants from the company. However, Tiffany’s former vice president of product development Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun managed to do just that.
Because of her position in the company, Mrs. Lederhaas-Okun was able to temporarily check out various jewelry items on a temporary basis. However, instead of returning the jewelry items to the company, Mrs. Lederhaas-Okun sold them to an unknown international jewelry buyer. Over a period of four months, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun pilfered and sold well over 150 Tiffany pendants, bracelets, earrings and necklaces.
Amazingly, the theft was not discovered until Mrs. Lederhaas-Okun was let go as part of an overall company restructuring. At this time, Tiffany executives discovered that well over 150 checked out jewelry items were never returned. A full investigation quickly revealed checks written to Mrs. Lederhaas-Okun and her husband, along with papers stating that the items were hers to sell.
It was not just Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun’s position that enabled her to conceal her ongoing theft for so long. Tiffany’s company policy stipulates that jewelry items valued at $25,000 or more must be inventoried on a daily basis; however, items costing less than this amount were not included in the daily inventory. Records show that Mrs. Lederhaas-Okun “played it safe” by only taking items that cost $10,000 or less.
Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun now faces charges that could lead to up to 30 years in prison. Tiffany has naturally not commented on the case, but it can be assumed that the company will likely tighten up its security regulations in order to avoid losing such a large quantity of jewelry in the future.