Billionaire Ty Warner, creator of Beanie Babies, has agreed to pay a $53.5 million penalty after pleading guilty to federal tax evasion for failing to report income in secret offshore Swiss accounts.
Chicago prosecutors announced charges Wednesday against Warner, 69, who Forbes estimates is worth an estimated $2.6 billion.
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"Regardless of wealth, everyone must pay taxes on all of their income, not just the amount they choose to report,” Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, told The Associated Press.
“The charge alleges that Warner went to great lengths to hide from his accountants and the IRS more than $3.1 million in foreign income generated in a secret Swiss account."
Gregory Scandaglia, Warner's attorney, called the charge "an unfortunate situation that Mr. Warner has been trying to resolve for several years now."
Warner lives in suburban Chicago and is the sole owner of TY Inc. Warner amassed a fortune in the 1990s when his Beanie toys became a hit with consumers who scrambled to buy specific stuffed creatures before the company retired them.
The toy tycoon went on to start Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts, which owns luxury properties such as Four Seasons hotels in New York City and Santa Barbara, Calif., the Wall Street Journal reported.
Warner’s financial penalties may not be over. He could also be found liable for back taxes and interest.
A date for Warner's arraignment hasn't been set.
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