Last year, 51-year-old Cecille Villacorta, an ex-Saks employee, went on trial for charges that, through a unique con, she stole over $1 million from the Manhattan flagship store. She faced up to 7 years in prison for grand larceny, and now the court has finally handed down her sentence: 90 days behind bars, five years’ probation and a $96,000 fine. Though Villacorta reportedly left the courtroom happy, the conviction is being appealed—if it's upheld, she also faces deportation to her native Philippines.
Villacorta did sell $27 million worth of jewelry at Saks between 2000 and 2006, but the prosecution claimed that she could do so by faking returns and offering the "refund" credit to customers to build good will—and made commission off the fake purchases. The NY Times reports on the odd scenario in the courtroom where the high-end retailer was put in a victim's shoes (or Jimmy Choos, if you will). Saks addressed the judge saying, "When employees steal from companies, they are not just violating the trust of their employer and damaging the reputation of the company that employs them; they are picking the pockets of all Americans."
However, since her scheme benefited not only herself, but her many customers (she would refund them when no merchandise was returned), her lawyer argued that she brought and kept business at Saks to the tune of her 3,000 loyal customers—"her giveaways were but a fraction of what she brought in for the company." The modern day Robin Hood was stealing from the rich, giving to the rich and becoming rich herself, and she even "submitted a letter from a Jesuit priest, which discussed what she had done for charity."