The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Community News Network

February 13, 2014

U.S. appeals tax sentence for beanie baby maker

CHICAGO — The Justice Department Thursday appealed the sentence of H. Ty Warner, the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies plush toys who got probation, not prison, for evading taxes on money hidden in a Swiss bank account.

Warner faced 46 months to 57 months in prison under nonbinding guidelines when he was sentenced Jan. 14 by U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras in Chicago. Prosecutors, who urged Kocoras to impose some prison time on Warner, Thursday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago to review his sentence.

Kocoras sentenced Warner, the founder of toymaker Ty Inc. and Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts, to two years of probation and 500 hours of community service. Warner pleaded guilty to evading almost $5.6 million in taxes on more than $24.4 million in undeclared income on accounts that held as much as $107 million.

Warner's evasion was the largest of more than 100 filed in a five-year crackdown against taxpayers and enablers who used offshore accounts to cheat the Internal Revenue Service. Prosecutors are concerned that his sentence will affect others around the country, said Bryan Skarlatos, a tax attorney at Kostelanetz & Fink in New York not involved in the case.

 "The case is important for the Justice Department because it's a very large account and a high-profile defendant, and prosecutors are obviously disappointed that they couldn't get a term of incarceration," said Skarlatos. They fear "that other defendants at sentencing will cite the Ty Warner case in arguing that they shouldn't go to prison," he said.

Warner's attorney Gregory Sandaglia didn't immediately return a call seeking comment on the appeal. Spokesman Eric Herman declined to comment.

Chicago U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon filed the one-sentence notice of appeal with the appeals court.

Last year, Peter Troost, a grave-marker and monument maker, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison by a judge in the same Chicago courthouse. Troost admitted he evaded taxes on more than $3.3 million in income.

Lawyers for Warner, who has a net worth of $1.7 billion, argued that he deserved leniency because of his charitable contributions. They cited his donation of $140 million in cash and toys to charities.

Before sentencing Warner, the judge read letters from supporters describing some of the billionaire's charitable deeds for schools, a kidney dialysis patient, Ty Inc. salesmen and his local park district.

"Society will be best served by allowing him to continue his good works," Kocoras concluded.

Warner's lawyers said he sought entry in an IRS voluntary disclosure program that has attracted more than 43,000 taxpayers who avoided prosecution since 2009. Prosecutors said he didn't apply to the program until learning the government knew of his conduct.

Warner paid a civil penalty of $53 million and filed amended tax returns for the years 1999 to 2008, his lawyers said. He has also paid $14 million in back taxes and interest, according to prosecutors.

 From 1996 to 2008, Warner parked money at UBS in Switzerland and then at Zuercher Kantonalbank, failing to disclose those holdings to his own accountants, according to court papers. By 2008, the balance of his undisclosed account exceeded $107 million, prosecutors said.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

Poll

A recent national telephone survey found 75 percent of respondents believe the sale and use of pot will eventually be legal nationwide. Do you think marijuana should be legal in Alabama?

Yes
No
No, but I don’t think pot smokers should go to jail
Yes, but only for medical use
Yes, but only for personal adult use
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee