Ty Warner, Beanie Baby creator and chief executive of Ty Inc.
Louis Lanzano/APBeanie Baby creator and chief executive Ty Warner, left, is pictured in this 2003 photo.
By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO -- The billionaire creator of Beanie Babies, Ty Warner, was charged Wednesday with tax evasion and agreed to plead guilty and pay a penalty of almost $53.6 million, according to prosecutors and his attorney.

Warner, 69, ranked as the 209th richest American by Forbes, "went to great lengths" to hide from his accountants and the Internal Revenue Service more than $3.1 million in foreign income generated in a secret Swiss bank account, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago.

Warner has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $53,552,248 million for failure to file a Foreign Bank Account Report, according to a statement from Warner's attorney Gregory Scandaglia.

"Mr. Warner accepts full responsibility for his actions with this plea agreement," Scandaglia said.

Warner is the second taxpayer to be charged in federal court in Chicago in connection with an ongoing investigation of U.S. taxpayer clients of Union Bank of Switzerland and other overseas banks that hid foreign accounts from the IRS, according to prosecutors. As part of a 2009 agreement with the United States, UBS (UBS) provided the government with the identities of certain customers, prosecutors said.


The federal charge alleges that in 2002, Warner earned more than $3.1 million through investments held in his UBS account, but didn't tell his accountants and failed to report it on his 2002 tax form. He failed to pay $885,300 in taxes owed for 2002, according to federal officials.

Beanie Babies, small plush toys sold for between $5 and $7, have been popular with collectors. During their peak of popularity in the 1990s, some collectors would pay hundreds of dollars for a rare character on the resale market, according to press accounts.

Warner's net worth was listed this week by Forbes as $2.6 billion.


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September 25 2013 at 12:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brenda

i would like the truth

September 20 2013 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brenda

I would like to see the truth!!!!!!!

September 20 2013 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
teenagerinsac

What a dimbulb!! To evade 3.1 mil in taxes on that sum, he now has to fork over 53 mil?? Let's guess that 'Hahvud' wasn't his Alma Mater :)

September 19 2013 at 7:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to teenagerinsac's comment
Brenda

Must have been the language Barrier thats throwing every one off,Which one is it ?

September 20 2013 at 3:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ktv813

How does an unpaid tax of $885,000 become a $53,000,000 penalty in just 10 years? Something is missing from this article.

September 19 2013 at 12:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rheabmike

Wonderful!

September 18 2013 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Darlene Bush Tucker

Only bigger dik was Thomas Kinkade, in the semi-same kind of arena.

September 18 2013 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Canoli King

He should have discussed his tax problem with good ole charlie rangel.

September 18 2013 at 10:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BaltimoreBud

BIG AL id turning in his grave. So they got ya kid. That's what did me in too. Not the killing, not the illegal booze, not all the rackets I king pinned - no - just damn tax evasion and a slight case of syphilis of course. Keep up the good work and I'll see you soon.

September 18 2013 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terry and Mandy

He\'s worth 2.6 Billion, but he wouldn\'t pay the taxes on 3.1 million. What an idiot! Now it\"s going to cost him 53 million. Just goes to show that having money doesn\'t stop one from ongoing greed. Again I say, WHAT AN IDIOT!

September 18 2013 at 10:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Terry and Mandy's comment
betty_brock

Much the same as the Beanie Baby devaluation.

September 18 2013 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply