Federal Prosecutors have been up in arms over the way Judge Charles Kocoras handled the tax-evasion case involving Ty Warner, the creator of Beanie Babies. Back in January, the judge gave the toymaker what amounts to a slap on the hand, even though he’d been hiding millions of dollars from U.S. tax authorities for years by socking the money away in Swiss bank accounts.
Said Judge Kocoras, “Mr. Warner’s private acts of kindness, generousity, and benevolence are overwhelming. Never have I had a defendant in any case demonstrate the level of humanity and concern for the welfare of others as has Mr. Warner.” He went on to say that probation would be much better than jail time, so that the man could continue to do good out in the community.
As just one example of Warner’s heart, remember when he created the Princess Di bear. Also keep in mind how many tiny beanies he has created for kid’s meals at fast food restaurants, toys for specific functions, and other specialty toys over the years. To learn more about the man behind the toys, step into this this story
In spite of Warner’s giving nature, the prosecutors are not buying it. They fear that it would be a grave mistake to allow wealthy people to believe they can get away with evading their taxes so easily. They argue in a recent appeal that once Ty Warner pleaded guilty to the tax evasion, that at least some amount of jail time should have been enforced. During the January sentencing they’d asked that Warner be imprisoned for at least one year, and the actions of Judge Kocoras are a ticket to other wealthy persons to go right ahead and continue to break the law.
The last thing the government desires is to appear to have a different set of standards for wealthy criminals than they do for those with less. They fear that if this ruling were to be used to set a precedent, the attourneys of less wealthy tax evaders could attempt to get probation for their clients, stating that if Warner could be spared, their own clients should get lighter sentences as well.
In fact, the U.S. government is so concerned by these Swiss bank accounts that recently they’ve begun going after the banks themselved, demanding the names of all U.S. citizens who have been hiding untaxed money. More on this side of things can be found in this article here.