Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, a former vice president of Tiffany & Co., has been accused of stealing $1.3 million worth of jewelry from the company. CNN reports that Lederhaas-Okun would check out pieces of jewelry and then write off or cancel the costs, later reselling the pieces as her own. After letting Lederhaas-Okun go in February, Tiffany's did an inventory report and found the former VP had spent the last two years stealing from them. Lederhaas-Okun charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property; she faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Well, that's no good at all.
The policy of checking out for a weekend or special event seems, well, flawed. Or, as someone who still has about eight books from her high school library, I think, perhaps, insane. Still, a problem in Tiffany's employee benefits is not an excuse for stealing.
Jezebel writer Callie Beusman argued that, "If you have ever worked in a restaurant and furtively eaten a quesadilla while hunched over the trash can, then you're basically in the same boat as her." But eating a quesadilla while hunched over a trash can isn't analog to stealing $1.3 million worth of diamonds for your own person gain.
Stealing—whether its food, or clothing, or diamonds—from your place of employment is never okay, but there's a huge difference between breaking the rules because you're hungry and breaking the rules because of greed and entitlement. Lederhaas-Okun didn't just break the rules of her company. She also tried to cheat with more implicit social laws. She wasn't stealing for reasons of basic survival or comfort. She was being greedy, plain and simple.