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Diatribe: The Bawling Beanie Baby Billionaire.


BeanieBabiesI admit it … I bought one.  I fell for a story about how one particular Beanie Baby was going to be the most valuable collectible piece of Americana in history.  Pretty much everyone in the U.S. remembers that Beanie Babies became popular collectibles in the mid 1990s.  Produced Ty, Inc. of Chicago, Illinois, the small stuffed animals were systematically “retired” and many people assumed that all “retired” designs would rise in value the way that early retirees had.  It was not uncommon for Beanie Babies to be accidentally shipped out with incorrect or misspelled tags, which sometimes increased the toy’s value.

While they were originally intended to be played with by children, the demand for the bears as potentially valuable collectables created a secondary market in which the bears and accompanying accessories, including display cases, storage boxes and protective covers for the tags, could be found in hobby shops and convention centers nationwide.

The craze lasted through 1999 and slowly declined after the Ty company announced that they would no longer make Beanie Babies … long enough to make the toys’ creator a billionaire.

ty_warner_beanie_collector_1That billionaire, suburban Chicago businessman, H. Ty Warner, broke down crying in court yesterday as he pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion for hiding twenty-five million dollars in income in secret Swiss bank accounts.  Warner, 69, apologized as he stood before a federal judge wiping away tears.

“I have so much to be thankful for.  There is no excuse for my actions.” – H. Ty Warner.

The plea deal is alleged to include a prison term of approximately four years, which makes it likely that he will serve time behind bars, and requires him to pay a civil penalty of as much as fifty-three million dollars.

Warner, apparently, attempted to bare his transgressions before the judge who stopped him indicating that there would be time for him to elaborate at his sentencing in January.  Warner admitted that he evaded paying five million dollars in taxes due to the IRS over an eleven-year period by setting up the secret accounts at one point concealing as much as one hundred seven million dollars.

Forbes recently estimated Warner’s net worth to be $2.6 billion so his Beanie Baby collection paid of handsomely.  He certainly could have afforded his tax bill.  But instead of crying his way to the bank he’s crying his way to prison.

UPDATE 01/14/14 – Beanie Babies Creator Gets Probation for Tax Evasion.


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Copyright © 2013

From → Diatribes

  1. Boo hoo.
    He’s worth 2.6 BILLION and he hid 25 MILLION.
    Again boo-freaking-hoo.


  2. This goes back to that study that University of Toronto and Univ. of Cal-Berkeley did last year that showed people with more income exhibited a much higher rate of cheating than other people. In some test cases, it was 4 to 1, but not less than 2 to 1 the rate of cheating of the average Joe (the study looked at not yielding the right of way correctly, not returning incorrect change, eating cookies saved for a kids meeting later that morning, cheating on a simple test, e.g.). The study results actually surprised the social scientists.


  3. Anonymous permalink

    I’m surprised he didn’t run for president!


  4. My Aunt and Aunt-in-Law collected them and had a special case built
    for them. They were both college professors and it seemed a bit out of
    step but they enjoyed them so what the heck.


    • If I remember correctly, many of the Beanie Aficionados were quite passionate about their collections. Now that I think about it, there might still be a squirrel on the desk in my basement!


  5. Maybe his 53 million dollars in fines can get your government up & running again?


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