Federal prosecutors have filed their appeal against billionaire Ty Warner’s lenient sentence for tax evasion, saying the Beanie Baby inventor “is no Robin Hood” and should be locked up.
Warner, 69, of Oak Brook, was in January sentenced to two years of probation and 500 hours of community service for hiding $100 million in secret Swiss bank accounts to con the IRS.
U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras was moved by Warner’s many acts of charity which he said “trumped” Warner’s crimes. Those included paying for medical treatment for a sick stranger he’d stopped to ask for directions from.
But in an appeals court filing late Friday, prosecutors wrote that Warner’s “past charitable contributions were not so extraordinary, in light of his wealth, that they qualified as a ‘get-out-of-jail card.’”
Kocoras “put unreasonable and undue weight on defendant’s charitable contributions without evaluating the context of defendant’s wealth; on letters submitted in support of defendant, many of which came from former or current employees and professional advisers; on back taxes and civil fines defendant paid to resolve his separate civil liabilities; and on the ‘embarrassment’ felt by defendant,” they wrote.
Prosecutors wanted Warner sentenced to a year in prison, pointing out that defendants who cheated the IRS out of far less in similar scams were sentenced to prison, including Skokie businessman Peter Troost, who got one year.
Warner’s attorneys successfully argued in January that by paying a $53 million fine and $27 million in back taxes, as well as being publicly humiliated, Warner had suffered enough.
They have yet to file a response to the government’s filing, but a spokesman for Warner said late Friday: “Unfortunately, the government is spending resources to challenge a well-reasoned and careful sentence issued by a well-respected judge.”