The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

State & National News

January 2, 2014

Beanie Baby billionaire seeks to avoid jail for tax evasion

H. Ty Warner, the billionaire creator of Beanie Baby plush toys, asked a U.S. judge to give him probation, not prison, for evading taxes on secret Swiss accounts that held as much as $107 million.

Warner, 69, faces 46 months to 57 months in prison under nonbinding guidelines when he's sentenced Jan. 14 in Chicago. The maker of plush toys, who also runs hotels, wants U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras to impose a term of probation with community service, according to a Dec. 31 court filing.

Warner is among more than 100 people prosecuted in the past five years during a U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion. His lawyers argued that "dozens of individuals who engaged in the exact same conduct with respect to undisclosed overseas accounts" got probation.

"This case concerns an isolated event in Ty's otherwise law-abiding life, during which he has paid approximately $1 billion in taxes," according to the filing. "There is no reason to believe prison time is necessary to prevent him from engaging in tax evasion again."

Warner owns TY Inc., which makes Beanie Babies, and Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts, the operator of the Four Seasons Hotel in New York and other facilities. He pleaded guilty Oct. 2 to evading $5.5 million in taxes on assets in Swiss accounts he hid from the Internal Revenue Service.

Under the federal guidelines, Kocoras can consider such factors as other sentences around the U.S., Warner's charitable gifts, and his pledge to pay penalties, back taxes and interest of more than $69 million. Warner also asked the judge to weigh that he was denied entry into an IRS amnesty program that has let more than 38,000 Americans with offshore accounts avoid prosecution.

Warner's name was on a list of account data for 285 Americans that his former bank, UBS AG, gave to the Justice Department in avoiding prosecution in February 2009. Zurich- based UBS, the biggest Swiss bank, also paid $780 million and admitted to fostering tax evasion. UBS later turned over 4,450 more names.

After Warner applied for the voluntary disclosure program in September 2009, the IRS rejected him because it wasn't available to those already known to the agency, according to the filing. A U.S. pre-sentence report cited by Warner's lawyers said the IRS had learned of his Swiss accounts "a few years before UBS turned over client account information" to the U.S.

"Ty's behavior was no different legally or factually from that of tens of thousands of taxpayers who were never sentenced - or even prosecuted - because they were admitted into IRS voluntary disclosure programs," according to the filing, known as a sentencing memorandum.

Warner's lawyers proposed that the judge impose "substantial community service," including work at the Ellen H. Richards Career Academy High School and the Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School, both in Chicago.

The Justice Department hasn't filed its sentencing memo yet.



 

1
Text Only
State & National News
  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    WASHINGTON - The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • NCSU Study: People Pay More Attention to the Upper Half of Field of Vision

         A new study from North Carolina State University and the University of Toronto finds that people pay more attention to the upper half of their field of vision – a finding which could have ramifications for everything from traffic signs to software interface design.

    April 23, 2014

  • NC State Receives $25 Million NNSA Grant to Develop Leaders, Improve Technological Capabilities for Detecting Nuclear Proliferation

    NC State today was awarded a five-year, $25 million grant by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development to develop the next generation of leaders with practical experience in technical fields relevant to nuclear nonproliferation. NC State was selected by NNSA over 22 other proposals following a competitive process that began in May 2013.

    April 23, 2014

  • Winter created urge to get out of town

    This year's harsh winter contributed to an exodus of travelers seeking refuge from the weather by booking tours, cruises and hotels in record numbers, according to AAA Carolinas Travel Agency. Trips taken by those booking through AAA, the largest leisure travel agency in the Carolinas, showed an increase in tours (15 percent), cruises (12 percent) and hotels (33 percent) over the first quarter of 2013.

    April 22, 2014

  • NCSU Study: The Trials of the Cherokee Were Reflected In Their Skulls

    Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.

    April 22, 2014

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    NEW YORK - Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 22, 2014

  • NCSU STUDY: Impurity Size Affects Performance of Emerging Superconductive Material

    Research from North Carolina State University finds that impurities can hurt performance – or possibly provide benefits – in a key superconductive material that is expected to find use in a host of applications, including future particle colliders. The size of the impurities determines whether they help or hinder the material’s performance.

    April 22, 2014

  • U.S. Archivist to Speak at NC State Commencement

    David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, will deliver NC State’s commencement address on Saturday, May 10, at 9 a.m. at the PNC Center in Raleigh.

    April 22, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 20, 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 20, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content