CHICAGO (AP) — The billionaire who created Beanie Babies broke down crying in court Wednesday as he pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion for hiding $25 million in income in secret Swiss bank accounts.
H. Ty Warner, 69, also apologized as he stood before a federal judge in Chicago, removing his designer tortoise-shell glasses and wiping away tears as he struggled to regain his composure.
"I have so much to be thankful for," said the suburban Chicago businessman, his voice breaking as he cited his Illinois-based stuffed-toy company, TY Inc. "There is no excuse for my actions."
The toy-maker's 18-page plea deal says guidelines call for a prison term of around four years — a calculation that makes it likely he'll serve time behind bars. It also requires he pay a $53 million civil penalty.
As Judge Charles Kocoras began questioning Warner about his intention to plead guilty, Warner cupped his hand over his ear, asking the judge if he could speak up. "My hearing isn't so good," Warner said.