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Federal prosecutors appealing no-jail sentence for Beanie Baby billionaire

Beanie Baby creator Ty Warner leaving Dirksen Federal Building after being arraigned federal tax evasicharges Wednesday October 2 2013 Chicago.

Beanie Baby creator Ty Warner leaving the Dirksen Federal Building after being arraigned on federal tax evasion charges on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, in Chicago. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 10, 2014 10:59AM

Federal prosecutors are appealing the lenient sentence handed to billionaire tax cheat Ty Warner last month by a Chicago judge.

The Beanie Baby creator hid $100 million in secret Swiss bank accounts to con the IRS, but got just two years of probation and 500 hours of community service for the crime when he was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras on Jan. 13.

Prosecutors wanted Warner, 69, of Oak Brook, locked up for at least a year, but Kocoras said Warner’s long history of charitable acts meant he should be spared.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago Thursday requested permission from Department of Justice officials in the nation’s capital for permission to proceed with the appeal. Such appeals by prosecutors are unusual.

Though they have yet to receive that OK from Washington D.C., the approval itself is typically considered a formality.

At Warner’s sentencing hearing last month, prosecutors drew the judge’s attention to other cases in which defendants who cheated the IRS out of far less in similar scams were sentenced to prison, including Skokie businessman Peter Troost, who got one year. Troost was prosecuted in Chicago federal court.

But Warner’s attorneys argued that by paying a $53 million fine and $27 million in back taxes, as well as being publicly humiliated, Warner had suffered enough.

A spokesman for Warner said Thursday: “We’re working out the details of Mr. Warner’s community service with the designated schools. He’s looking forward to beginning his work there and expects it to begin soon.”

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