Just days after Forbes listed him as one of the world's wealthiest people, Ty Inc. CEO and Beanie Babies creator Ty Warner has agreed to plead guilty to federal tax evasion charges.
"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,” Gregory Scandaglia, Warner's attorney, said in a statement. “Mr. Warner accepts full responsibility for his actions with this plea agreement.”
Though his wealth was recently listed as $2.6 billion according to Forbes, Warner is accused of socking away a more than $3.1 million in secret offshore Swiss bank accounts. Charged Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court, the Tribune says Warner also agreed to pay a $53.5 million civil penalty.
"Regardless of wealth, everyone must pay taxes on all of their income, not just the amount they choose to report. 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," Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois said in a release.
The 69-year-old business mogul and philanthropist is the second person charged in federal court in connection with an ongoing investigation involving Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) and other overseas banks that allegedly helped Americans hide money from the IRS.
According to Crain's Chicago Business, prosecutors say Warner started the secret offshore account in 1996, amassing about $93.6 million by 2002.
After admitting to helping U.S. taxpayers hide money from the IRS in 2009, the bank agreed to identify its customers to the government, ABC Chicago reports.
Prosecutors say Warner will be arraigned in U.S. District Court at a later date.