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Former Tiffany employee pleads guilty to theft in NY

A former employee of Tiffany & Co., the famous New York based jeweler, has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $2 million worth of jewelry from the company. The woman was a vice president of product development, so she was able to check out jewelry from the company to show potential manufacturers. After the woman left her position, it was discovered that she had 164 items checked out that had not been returned.

This theft was initially undetected because the woman checked out items with values less than $10,000, and the company only does daily checks on items worth $25,000 or greater. The merchandise taken included 18-carat gold diamond bracelets, earrings and rings, some of which also had precious stones. According to the criminal complaint, when the woman was initially confronted about the missing items, she stated that many were in the company's possession and that others were missing or damaged.

However, investigators discovered that an international dealer wrote nearly 80 checks to the woman and her husband, some for as much as $47,400. It was discovered that the woman was selling the jewelry to the dealer and claiming the items were her personal property. The woman apologized for the theft, and she has pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. She faces up to four years in prison.

While theft and shoplifting are not always serious crimes, when property worth more than $2 million is stolen, the charges can be serious indeed. It's not always wisest to plead guilty; however, this woman seems to have decided that the best course of action, in her case, is to admit guilt and show remorse. A criminal defense lawyer can determine if it's better to receive a lighter sentence by taking a plea bargain or to fight the charges and risk a conviction.

Source: Fox News, "Ex-Tiffany executive pleads guilty to New York jewelry thefts", July 27, 2013

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