Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for stealing more than $2.1 million in jewelry from her employer,Tiffany’s, since 2008.
Lederhaas-Okun admitted, through her attorney, that she had taken at least 165 items, including diamond, platinum and gold bracelets, earrings and pendants. Her mitigating defense was that she was suffering from extreme depression due to issues in her marriage and at work.
Lederhaas-Okun, of Darien, Conn., was arrested on July 2 She pleaded guilty on July 26 and has been out on a $250,000 bond since then.
Sabrina Shroff, her lawyer, wrote:
“To be clear, Ingrid did not need the money… Ingrid spent more money on others than she ever did on herself. The family was well-off and could have afforded the same lifestyle without her theft.
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. The risk did not pay off.”
Lederhaas-Okun, 47, requested a six month sentence but prosecutors sought a term of 37 to 46 months.
The judge split the difference, and sentenced her to one year plus one day. He also ordered that she return the value of the stolen goods – amounting to $ 2.1 million. In addition she has to pay a restitution fine of $2.2 million.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declared: “With today’s sentence, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun has learned the price she must pay for stealing millions of dollars worth of fine jewelry.”
The opportunity for Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun to take so many items was created when she was allowed to check out jewelry from Tiffany for work-related reasons.
She then reported the items were either damaged or missing. Lederhaas-Okun then sold some of the jewelry to a Manhattan-based re-seller, netting $1.3 million.
In a surprising turn of events, last November Ingrid’s husband requested that the investigators return some of the jewelry which they had seized from his home. Robert Okun said he purchased many of the items for himself, including 40 sets of cuff links, and that he had no knowledge of his wife’s crimes.
This issue has yet to be resolved, said his lawyer, Bernard Kleinman. Meanwhile, the family home will be sold to help settle Lederhaas-Okun’s forfeiture and restitution.