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Appeal seeks prison time for Beanie Babies creator

February 13, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors say they’re appealing the sentence for the billionaire Beanie Babies creator that included no prison time for hiding at least $25 million from U.S. tax authorities in Swiss bank accounts.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago filed a notice of appeal in H. Ty Warner’s case on Thursday.

At his sentencing last month, a judge praised Warner’s charitable giving and concluded society would be better served by keeping him out from behind bars. He was sentenced to two years of probation.

The 69-year-old could have been sentenced to up to five years in prison. Prosecutors had asked he be imprisoned for at least a year.

Department of Justice officials in Washington must still give their formal approval to the appeal. But that usually follows the decision of regional prosecutors.

Warner was one of the highest profile figures caught in a long-running investigation of Americans concealing funds in Swiss bank accounts. Others convicted of concealing less money in Switzerland than Warner have done prison time.

Warner, who grew up poor, created the animal-shaped Beanie Babies in the mid-’90s, triggering a craze that made him spectacularly rich. Forbes recently estimated his net worth at $2.6 billion.