Tiffany’s executive busted for stealing jewellery…and four other great corporate theft stories

Forget the stationery cupboard. A former Tiffany’s executive has been slammed with accusations she stole $US1.3 million worth of jewellery from the iconic company.

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, who served as a company vice president, has been accused of stealing 165 pieces of jewellery including bracelets and earrings between January 2011 and February 2013. 

“Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun took advantage of the access her employment afforded her to expensive jewelry.” FBI assistant director-in-charge George Venizelos said in a statement. “A privileged position in a prestigious company does not insulate a thief from arrest and prosecution.” 

Such outrageous frauds are nothing new – here in Australia we have seen several employees show their ability to defraud companies in transactions worth millions of dollars

But of course, pilfering jewelry is a little more interesting than just signing a dodgy cheque. We’ve gathered a few other instances of unusual corporate fraud – they may not be $1.3 million in jewelry, but they’re just as amusing.

The German stationery hoarder

Most employees would have taken a pen or two from the office, but last year a German man was revealed to have hoarded 30 years’ worth of pens, pencils and post-it notes in his backyard. 

The entire collection weighed more than 20 tonnes. 

The government employee had managed to take away printer paper, cleaning products and even toilet brushes home over three decades. Estimates suggested the merchandise could be worth more than six figures.

You might want to put a lock on the stationery cupboard from now on. 

Phone book storage

In 2008, a woman in the United States was indicted for fraud after being accused of stealing not just one, not two, but over 100,000 phone book directories. 

The woman was hired by a company to deliver the directories, but instead, she took them and held them in storage units during a four-year period. 

The head of the company in question, Directory Plus, told Fox News the theft had cost him half a million dollars. 

It’s probably just as well. No one uses phone books anymore anyway. 

Amtrak food theft

The Amtrak train network in the United States has been criticised for never being able to break even. This may be why – last year it was revealed the company loses about $80 million selling food. 

Of those losses, according to a report written by Amtrak inspector general Ted Alves, $4-7 million is due to employee theft. 

That’s a lot of soft drink and cinnamon rolls.

The Oreo thief

Speaking of food, this Wal-Mart employee ran into trouble when it was discovered she had been taking one or two packets of Oreo biscuits from her store every week. 

She’d been doing this for four years, she said. And for some time at another Wal-Mart location. 

While taking a few sticks of gum here and there probably won’t see anyone get caught, repeat behaviour is likely to be found. After seven years of theft, it was only a matter of time.


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