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What if a man said, “I stole $2 million in jewelry from Tiffany’s because I was depressed”?

December 27, 2013

Yup:

A former Tiffany & Co executive was sentenced to a year in prison on Monday after admitting to stealing more than $2.1 million of jewelry from the New York luxury store.

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In a court filing last week, [Ingrid] Lederhaas-Okun’s lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, argued…the thefts stemmed from a “desperate effort” to compensate for the pain and depression of other life failures in her marriage and at work.

“For reasons that can only be explained by a psychiatric illness, Ingrid took huge risks with her life and her freedom each time she stole,” Shroff wrote.

Lederhaas-Okun, by the way, was earning $360,000 a year as Tiffany’s vice president for product development when many of the thefts occurred–and also living in the fancy New York City suburb of Darien, Connecticut.

By her own lawyer’s account, Lederhaas-Okun engaged in the first of many thefts in 2005, taking a pendant from Tiffany, where she worked since 1991.

In the years that followed, Lederhaas-Okun would steal jewelry and sell it, pocketing the money for herself, prosecutors say. The government says the jewelry included bracelets, earrings and pendants made of diamonds, platinum and gold.

Prosecutors say she was able to engage in the theft undetected for so long because Lederhaas-Okun’s position enabled her to take jewelry from the store and write it off inventory.

Tiffany said it only came to suspect something was wrong after terminating Lederhaas-Okun as part of a mass layoff in February.

Fortunately, the judge, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan, wasn’t feeling much of Lederhaas-Okun’s pain and depression. He sentenced her to a year and a day in federal prison, and ordered her to make full restitution to Tiffany’s and forfeit another $2.11 million to the government.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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