Beanie Baby Founder Has To Pay The Tax Man


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No matter how much money you make, you can never keep it away from Mr. Tax Man. Just ask Wesley Snipes.

Maybe billionaire Ty Warner thought if you moved your money to a different country, you didn't have to let the IRS know?

Alas, you have to let them know about every penny you make no matter where you keep it.

Warner, the sole-owner, CEO and founder of Ty Inc., which also happens to manufacture and distribute the early 90s phenomenon "Beanie Babies," was charged with tax evasion on Wednesday. He falsely reported his income amount in 2002. Warner has agreed to plead guilty and pay a penalty of $53.5 million.

It seems the billionaire has been putting money into overseas accounts since 1996. In January of 1996, Warner went to Zurich, Switzerland to open an account where correspondence about that account would be held by the bank and not mailed out. Warner also opened another account in Switzerland in 2002 transferring money from his UBS account. He also put it under the name of the "Molani Foundation" instead of his own. At the time of the transfer, his UBS account had a balance of $93,630,083 in it.

Warner's lawyer, Gregory Scandaglia, said, “This is an unfortunate situation that Mr. Warner has been trying to resolve for several years now, including through an attempt to enroll in the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program in 2009. Mr. Warner accepts full responsibility for his actions with this plea agreement.”

Gary Shapiro, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said, “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." Shapiro added, “Regardless of wealth, everyone must pay taxes on all of their income, not just the amount they choose to report."

The 69-year-old Warner will appear in front of a judge for his arraignment and plea on October 2 at 9:45 a.m. He could still end up with a five-year jail sentence, the maximum sentence for tax evasion.

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