Ty Warner, the entrepreneur who became a billionaire creating Beanie Babies stuffed plush toys, has been charged with felony tax evasion by federal authorities and has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $53.5 million penalty, federal officials and his attorney said Wednesday.
Warner “was charged today with federal tax evasion for allegedly failing to report income he earned in a secret offshore account he held with UBS,” the financial services firm based in Switzerland, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago said.
Warner’s lawyer, Gregory Scan- daglia, confirmed that Warner, the sole owner of Illinois-based toy designer Ty Inc., reached an agreement to resolve an investigation into an overseas account he opened in 1996.
Warner traveled to Zurich to open the account, court documents said. When he set up the account, he requested that correspondence related to it be held by the bank and not mailed elsewhere, documents said.
“This is an unfortunate situation that Mr. Warner has been trying to resolve for several years now,” Scandaglia said.
Warner, 69, ranks 209th in a recent Forbes ranking of the richest Americans. His net worth is estimated at $2.6 billion.