Many workplaces have what’s known as the “giveaway” shelf. Need a pen emblazoned with some corporation’s name? Your coworker might’ve put it out as a freebie. Looking for a set of fake clip-in hair? If you’ve ever worked at a celebrity weekly, you probably could’ve scored that for free. While we’re unsure if Tiffany & Co. has such a shelf, an executive charged with swiping $1.3 million in jewelry was definitely not cruising the giveaways, say authorities.
U.S. officials say the former executive took diamond and other jewelry from the company’s Manhattan HQ, and then resold the merchandise for more than $1.3 million, reports the Associated Press.
How would one simply walk off with that much loot at a company that ostensibly has very high security? Authorities say that her position entitled her to “check out” jewelry, or sign it out to show it to potential manufacturers in order to calculate production costs. The thing about checking it out is, you’re supposed to check it back in — something authorities say the exec never did.
After she left the company last February, Tiffany realized she’d checked out a total of 164 items that never came back, says the criminal complaint.
It sounds like a veritable treasure trove of bling, sparkly, pretty things: “numerous diamond bracelets in 18-carat gold; diamond drop and hoop earrings in platinum or 18-carat gold; diamond rings in platinum; rings with precious stones in 18-carat gold; and platinum and diamond pendants.”
Authorities say she’d check out items worth under $10,000 so as not to arouse suspicion, as Tiffany does a daily inventory of checked-out pieces worth more than $25,000.
When the matter was brought to the exec’s attention, she claimed that she had left it behind at Tiffany or that other pieces were lost or damaged, the complaint says. Investigators however, say she resold the loot to an international dealer and pocketed the funds.
She was arrested on charges of wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property and later released on $250,000 bond. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison — where we don’t even want to guess what could be on the giveaway shelf.
US: Tiffany exec stole jewelry worth $1.3M [Associated Press]