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Hinsdale

Prison time sought for Oak Brook billionaire Ty Warner despite plea for probation

OAK BROOK – Prosecutors are pushing for prison time for Beanie Babies creator and Oak Brook billionaire H. Ty Warner, who failed to report $25 million in income he kept in Swiss bank accounts.

According to media reports, a filing by the government in federal court Tuesday in Chicago did not specify a specific jail time for Warner, but the filing suggests that probation wouldn't be appropriate.

Warner, 69, of Oak Brook, is the sole owner of TY Inc., a Westmont-based company that designs and sells plush toy animals, including Beanie Babies.

Warner is charged with tax evasion after failing to report income he earned in a secret offshore financial account he held with UBS, a global financial services firm headquartered in Switzerland.

In a filing Jan. 1, Warner asked to receive probation when he is sentenced later this month by a federal judge, according to media reports.

He said he has met with the terms of his plea agreement, and paid a $53 million civil penalty and at least $16 million in back taxes. Warner also described himself as being a product of an "unhappy family," according to reports.

Tax evasion carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois.

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