BUSTED AT TIFFANY’S!
INGRID LEDERHASS-OKUN had a lifestyle most people only dream about, including a $3.1 million home in Connecticut and a high-paying job at the famous New York jeweler Tiffany’s.
But it wasn’t enough.
Authorities say that over a two-year period, the 46-year-old stole $2.1 million in jewelry from the posh retailer.
“This was a woman who seemingly had it all – a great job, a beautiful home, mixing with the rich and famous...but she wanted more, more, more,” a law enforcement source told The ENQUIRER. “Greed knows no bounds.”
Ingrid worked at Tiffany’s for 22 years, rising to the position of vice president of product development. Part of her job was to bring the pricey baubles to manufacturers so they could determine production costs.
But in February, she was let go when the company began downsizing.
AUTHORITIES say that after she left, company officials discovered she had checked out, but never returned, 164 items, including diamond bracelets, earrings, rings and gold pendants.
When company officials asked Ingrid about the missing jewelry, she tried to cover her tracks by saying they were either still in the store or had been lost. Not satisfied with her explanation, the authorities were called in.
The FBI dubbed the case “Operation: Breakfast at Tiffany’s” after the famous 1961 movie starring Audrey Hepburn. Their investigation revealed that Ingrid had sold some of the missing jewelry to an international dealer for $1.3 million. Between January 2011 and February 2013, the dealer wrote her 75 checks ranging from $7,525 to $47,000.
Authorities said Ingrid only took jewelry worth less than $10,000 because she knew that the company conducted a daily inventory of items valued at more than $25,000.
On July 2, FBI agents arrested Ingrid at her upscale home in Darien, Conn., where she lived with her husband, Robert, a hedge-fund manager. On July 26, she appeared in court and pleaded guilty to a charge of interstate transportation of stolen property.
“I knew it was illegal to steal, and I did so regardless. I’m very sorry,” she said.
Ingrid has been ordered to pay $2.1 million in restitution and faces up to 10 years in jail.
“Diamonds are forever, but stolen diamonds are not,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York. “She looted her employer’s jewelry inventory in order to enrich herself. She went from a vice president of a high-end jewelry company to jewel thief.
“Her arrest shows that no matter how privileged their position in a company, employees who steal will face the full consequences of the law.”