Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 27th 2013 Contents A13
Friday, December 27, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
NEW YORK---A former executive
from Tiffany & Co was sentenced to
one year and one day in prison for
stealing more than US$1.2 million in
jewelry from its famous Fifth Avenue
location, a crime a judge called an
inexplicable act of self-destruction by
someone who didn t need the money.
Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun had pleaded
guilty this year to one count of interstate
transportation of stolen property. Her
lawyer had asked for a sentence of six
months while the government sought
at least three years.
"I m very sorry for everything that s
happened," a tearful Lederhaas-Okun
told the judge before hearing the sen-
tence in federal court in New York City.
"I can t express my remorse enough."
US District Judge Paul G Gardephe
rejected prosecutors arguments that
the 46-year-old defendant was moti-
vated by greed, noting that she came
from a privileged background, made
US$360,000 a year at Tiffany and lived
in a US$4 million house in upscale
Darien, Connecticut. Her attorney
claimed that she suffered from depres-
sion and cracked under the pressures
of not being able to have children, get-
ting passed over for a promotion at
Tiffany and seeing her marriage crum-
ble.But Gardephe said it was impossible
to know what set Lederhaas-Okun on
a path of "self-destruction which could
only have one outcome---disaster." He
also said she deserved more than six
months because of how long the thefts
went on and the fact that she tried to
resell some of the jewelry.
"This was not a crime of impulse,"
he said. "The defendant made many
bad decisions over many years."
As vice president of product devel-
opment, Lederhaas-Okun had authority
to check out jewelry from Tiffany to
provide to potential manufacturers to
determine production costs. Authorities
alleged that after she left Tiffany in
February, the company discovered she
had checked out 164 items that were
The items included numerous dia-
mond bracelets in 18-carat gold, dia-
mond drop and hoop earrings in plat-
inum or 18-carat gold, diamond rings
in platinum, rings with precious stones
in 18-carat gold, and platinum and dia-
When confronted about the missing
jewelry, Lederhaas-Okun claimed that
she had left some of it behind at Tiffany
and that some had been lost or dam-
aged, according to a criminal complaint.
But an investigation found that Leder-
haas-Okun resold some of the goods
to an unidentified international dealer
for more than US$1.3 million. Other
items were found in her home.
Bank records showed that since Jan-
uary 2011, the dealer wrote 75 checks
to her or her husband for amounts of
up to US$47,400, the complaint said.
Investigators also recovered purchase
forms signed by Lederhaas-Okun that
said the items were her personal prop-
Authorities alleged Lederhaas-Okun
purposely checked out items valued at
under US$10,000 apiece to avoid detec-
tion. The company takes a daily inven-
tory of all checked-out items worth
more than US$25,000. (AP)
DETROIT---US safety regulators
have expanded an investigation
into rear light failures in Mercedes-
Benz C-Class luxury vehicles.
The probe now covers nearly
253,000 cars from the 2008 through
2011 model years.
The National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration says the stop,
tail and turn signal lights can fail
because of a melted electrical con-
The agency and Mercedes have
received 402 complaints, including
five fires and one injury.
Mercedes also reported more
than 23,000 warranty claims that
could be tied to the problem.
The safety agency has upgraded
the probe to an engineering analysis.
That s a step closer to a recall, but
so far no recall has been issued.
Investigators say the problem
appears to be worsening as the
vehicles get older. A Mercedes
spokesman said the company is co-
operating with the investigation.
year in prison
US expands probe into
Mercedes tail light problem
Customers look at iPads at
Apple's retail outlet in
Beijing on Monday. Apple
and China Mobile
announced a long-
Monday to bring the
iPhone to the world's
biggest phone company.
The iPhone, once hugely
popular in China, has been
eclipsed by the rise of
Samsung and Chinese
companies. AP PHOTO
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