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Former Tiffany exec gets year-long sentence for stealing jewelry

A former high-level employee of Tiffany & Co., one of New York's most prominent jewelers, confessed to swiping and selling more than 160 items, which amounted to roughly $2.1 million. Following a July 2013 guilty plea, the Connecticut woman faced criminal charges for transporting stolen merchandise. On Dec. 23, a federal judge reportedly ordered the woman to serve one year and one day in prison and submit to supervision for an additional year upon release.

Since being employed by Tiffany & Co. in 1991, the woman had become the vice president of product development but was discharged during a large-scale layoff. According to prosecutors, her professional status allowed her to write off the stolen inventory, effectively eliminating an obvious trail. Statements from the defense indicated the theft crimes began in 2005 and continued over several years as the woman gained profits from illegal sales of expensive pendants, bracelets and other jewelry.

Sources say the defense hoped for a six-month sentence, while prosecutors suggested the severity of her crime called for a 46-month prison stay. Ultimately, the judge believed the charges warranted more than six months but considered 46 months an excessive punishment. In addition to detention, the woman must turn over more than $2 million to the government and the ruling awarded $2.24 million in damages to Tiffany & Co.

Based on the exec's annual earnings of approximately $360,000, the judge didn't see greed as a likely motivator. The defense attributed the woman's actions to desperation brought on by depression and personal suffering, including a failing marriage. Cooperating with a guilty plea and showing remorse during the trial may have also aided the woman in receiving a less severe sentence. Accused individuals who want to present a strong property crimes defense may benefit from working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to present evidence in the most favorable light.

Source: Daily Finance , "Ex-Tiffany Exec Given Year in Prison for $2 Million Jewelry Theft", Nate Raymond, December 23, 2013

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