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Beanie Babies billionaire faces prison term

By Laurie Bennett

October 3, 2013 at 8:46am

When you’re worth an estimated $2.6 billion, why try to dodge a measly $5.6 million in taxes?

It’s a question Beanie Babies creator Ty Warner will have plenty of time to ask himself.

Warner pleaded guilty Wednesday to tax evasion, admitting that he had hidden money in a Swiss bank account. Prosecutors said he failed to pay $5.6 million in taxes on an unreported $24.4 million in income from 1999 to 2007.

“I made a mistake,” Warner told a federal judge.

The plea agreement calls for a prison term of 46 to 57 months.

His lawyer told the Chicago Tribune that Warner also would pay $53.5 million in civil penalties and had paid more than $1 billion in taxes over the years.

Warner held an account with the Swiss bank UBS, which agreed in 2009 to provide the Internal Revenue Service with extensive information about American clients.

In the years since, the Justice Department has charged a series of UBS customers with concealing income.

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