H. Ty Warner, he of Beanie Baby fame, is trying to avoid prison time for evading taxes on secret Swiss bank accounts that held over $US100 million, Bloomberg’s David Voreacos reports.
Warner, the billionaire founder of the once-mega popular toy, faces 46 months to 57 months in prison. His lawyers argue that his behaviour was essentially no different from other tax evaders who have gotten probation.
In 2009, Warner’s Swiss bank, UBS, turned over a trove of client names (including Warner’s) to the Justice Department as part of a deal with the U.S. government, Bloomberg reports. Then the IRS rejected his application for its “voluntary disclosure program” on the grounds that they already knew about Warner’s Swiss accounts before UBS gave them up.
In pleading guilty, Warner admitted to opening an account at UBS in 1996 and transferring $US93.6 million in 2002 to Zuercher Kantonalbank, a small Swiss bank.
He filed a false return in 2002 that reported income of $US49.1 million, while omitting his UBS income of $US3.2 million. He also didn’t file a Treasury Department form called a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, known as an FBAR. He amended his 2002 return in 2007, yet still understated his tax by $US885,300.
In pleading guilty, Warner acknowledged that from 1999 through 2007, he underreported his gross income by $US24.4 million.
Warner’s sentencing is scheduled for January 14.