Billionaire Gets Probation For Tax Evasion
Via Chicago Tribune reports:
A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Beanie Babies founder Ty Warner to two years of probation for failing to pay income taxes on millions of dollars he hid for years in a Swiss bank account.
In rejecting calls from prosecutors for a prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras read aloud from several of the dozens of letters he received in support of Warner and detailing his charitable works.
“Warner’s private acts of kindness, benevolence and generosity are overwhelming,” Kocoras said.
The judge also ordered Warner to perform 500 hours of community service.
Warner, dressed in a dark blue suit and listening to the proceedings through headphones because he’s hard of hearing, scribbled notes as the judge spoke but had no outward reaction.
Before Kocoras imposed the sentence, Warner stood in court and apologized for his conduct, saying the outpouring of support he has received has only augmented his “shame and embarrassment.”
“Unfortunately, I never realized that the biggest mistake (I) ever made in my life would cost me the respect that was most important to me,” Warner said, reading from written remarks in a low voice. “For all if this, your honor, I am truly sorry.”
A billionaire Chicago-area businessman made famous by his line of collectible stuffed toys, Warner, 69, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion in October. He had sought probation for what he said was a “terrible mistake.”
While prosecutors did not recommend a specific prison term, in court records they asked Kocoras to “give serious consideration” to sentencing guidelines that call for 46 to 57 months behind bars, arguing that Warner tried to conceal the offshore accounts for years to evade U.S. personal income taxes.
The poor go to jail, the rich get probation. Apparently, the rich and brown can still go to jail too.