Who’s Cheating America: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Image Credit: guardian.co.uk

No, no, this isn’t about the divine Audrey Hepburn. We didn’t catch her cheating, thank god. It’s just a boring old insurance company dispute with Tiffany’s, the world-famous jeweler’s. So boring, in fact, I had to jazz it up with a photo. Here’s another:

Image Credit: Elegant Audrey

Sigh. Now onto the case, which is captioned Those Interested Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London who subscribed to the policy of insurance numbered BO80111433 v. Lederhaas-Okun et al.

Huh?

I thought this was about Tiffany’s? You mean there’s more…?

Indeed there is.

Lloyd’s of London underwriters brought a suit in New York state court Wednesday against a former Tiffany & Co. executive about to enter prison on charges of stealing merchandise from the luxury retailer and the jewelry trader that allegedly fenced her loot, seeking to recover the resulting $5.4 million loss.

Fenced her loot? From Tiffany’s? And she was a Vice President of Product Development?

Oh boy.

In her plea, Lederhaas-Okun admitted that she took routinely checked out pieces of jewelry from her employer and took them home to Connecticut before selling them to a leading international buyer and seller with an office in midtown Manhattan.

Hmm. She checked them out, saying they were damaged and needed to be written off for insurance anyway. Then she took them home and sold them. How in the world did she ever get caught?

Although prosecutors never named the alleged fence in open court, Lloyd’s asserts that checks from the jeweler show payments for the stolen goods totaling roughly $1.3 million in connection with at least 31 different transactions.

Checks??? The fence paid her by check??? I thought that’s what bitcoins were for! (Just kidding, authorities with subpoena power!)

The good thing about executives getting caught is that they’re not stupid enough to lie.

After she was fired in February, Lederhaas-Okun allegedly stated that she only recently checked out the missing jewelry to create a PowerPoint presentation for her supervisor, a draft of which could be found on her office computer.

In actuality, the missing jewelry had been checked out months earlier and her supervisor knew nothing of any planned presentation, while a search of her office computer revealed no draft, according to prosecutors.

One little fib!

At another point, Lederhaas-Okun claimed the missing jewelry was in a white envelope in her office, but a search following her departure from the company turned up nothing, prosecutors said.

Okay, two!

This second one is really hand-in-the-cookie-jar thinking. “Um, the jewels? Which jewels? Oh, those jewels…um…they’re in my office…in a white envelope…go look!” [Gulp.]

So there we go. From Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Breakfast at a Correctional Facility in West Virginia. Moon River to Up the River. And to an ignominious spot on our list of Who’s Cheating America.

Previous entries in our Who’s Cheating America? series:

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