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U.S. Attorney's Office appeals Ty Warner sentencing, seeks prison time

Published: Sunday, May 11, 2014 7:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:53 p.m. CDT

Federal prosecutors appealed the sentencing of Oak Brook billionaire Ty Warner on Friday, after the Beanie Babies creator avoided jail time for failing to report at least $25 million to tax authorities, according to media reports.

Owner of Westmont-based TY Inc., Warner pleaded guilty in 2013 to tax evasion after he did not report income he earned in a secret offshore financial account he held with UBS, a global financial services firm headquartered in Switzerland.

Warner received two years probation instead of prison time when he was sentenced in January, where he faced a potential five years in prison.

During the sentencing, Judge Charles Kocoras also ordered Warner to complete 500 hours of community service in Chicago high schools.

In their appeal, prosecutors argue that sentencing Warner only to probation "creates improper disparities between rich and poor defendants," according to media reports.

The filing with the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals also says the lack of imprisonment could set a precedent for similar cases, reports stated.

"In the future, counsel for offshore-evasion defendants, and white-collar defendants in general, will certainly argue that since Warner received probation, their clients should as well," the filing reads.

At the January sentencing, Kocoras praised Warner's charitable work, saying society would be better off with him free, according to media reports.

But prosecutors say his charitable giving equates to less than 2 percent of his wealth, reports stated.

"His past charitable contributions were not so extraordinary, in light of his wealth, that they qualify as 'a get-out-of-jail card.'" the filing reads.

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