Beanie Babies tycoon faces prison for tax fraud


“Inventor” …? Really?

“Creator” is the right word.

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Every single time, I am stunned in disbelief. So that he can take home 110 million instead of 100 million, the guy risks five years in the slam. How does that tradeoff make any sense at all? And why didn’t every CPA in town run from him as if chased by grizzlies? They’re going down too.


It’s an excellent question. I think it’s similar to how self-destructive or unregulated celebrities often become, as the peer pressure that prevents the rest of us from jumping on couches or acting in a Charlie Sheenish manner is absent. There are people who will grant approval to the exceedingly powerful for any deranged behavior, because they worship or seek to curry favor or cash from the exceedingly powerful. I agree, it is pretty mind-boggling.


You know, if the guy had made his fortune by inventing a cure for type II diabetes, or a machine that turned salt water and turds into soil-restoring miracle fertilizer, I might, might, give him a pass.

But this guy sold cheap impulse-buy trinkets to OCD sad-sacks trying to fill in the gaping holes in the foundations of their Maslow pyramids.

Did he think society owed him more for his clever marketing of crap?


Assuming this guy didn’t start rich, this probably started when he made his first $100k and he figured out how to skim $10k off…at that point it made a difference to his account. He could buy a new machine to make even more stupid little stuffed things. He didn’t get caught, so when he made $500k and hid $50k, and again it went fine. Keep ratcheting it up, and you get caught for $100M, with something he’s been doing for years as a matter of course rather than conscious choice at that level.


Yes! There is justice in this world! He marketed those crappy Beanie Babies as investments; collectibles that would only get more valuable in time and the people who were the least informed and who could least afford them bought his con.

Well, I can think of a couple of reasons:

  1. stashing your money in tax shelters and offshore accounts was probably considered by the rich as the equivalent of going 5 MPH over the speed limit on the interstate: technically illegal but everyone does it (in this case, everyone rich). He could rationalize it as not paying for, say, something like this. Yeah, I know, weaksauce, but anyone who’s in the Forbes 400 lives in a different world than us, or assumes that they do.

  2. The CPAs may have been the ones to talk him into it in the first place. The ability to earn a huge amount of money doesn’t necessarily come with the ability to know what to do with it; see, for example, Willie Nelson and all the tax problems he had in the 90s. His CPA could have gotten rich off of giving him advice that would bite him in the ass later, and simply disappeared; lots of celebrities get ripped off.


Or more simply, people that commit crimes don’t think they will get caught. They are not performing cost-benefit analysis on jail times.


So this man, unlike millions of others, did not contribute one penny to the War on Terror, the destruction of Iraq, or the ongoing surveillance of the world.

I call him a hero.

He didn’t contribute either to healthcare, education, public safety, public transportation, etc.

I call him a fraudster.


Are heroes not to be emulated? By all means, let the rest of us know how it works out, when you opt out of those immoral taxes. With good behavior they may give you a little weekly internet time.

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That’s funny. Imagine there was a charity. “OmniHelp”. And, they distributed money to healthcare, education, public safety, public transportation, etc. Their services weren’t perfect (their public safety arm had a bad habit of violating public safety…in fact, the first three of those heavily government involved services in America really are by and large a mess), but they got the job done.

Another major source of their efforts was developing biological weapons, buying massive amounts of machine guns for violent insurgents and dictators overseas in dozens of countries, developing weapons to destroy the world with, mass bombing thousands of civilians from armed aerial fortress bombardment, deploying chemical weapons, building massive prisons to put brown skinned people in, giving lots of your ‘donations’ to the worst corporations and crooks in the world, etc. etc.

Whatever money you donate goes to fund all of these things, you have no say over what exactly it funds.

Now, you have two people. Bob and Sam. They have each received a bonus at work and have $1,000 they want to donate to a charitable cause.

Bob donates his $1,000 to the Red Cross.

Sam donates his $1,000 to OmniHelp.

What would you think of the decision these two men just made?

Given a choice of any of thousands of legitimate charities and NGOs in the world, would YOU choose to donate your money to OmniHelp?

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Friendly neighborhood reminder: the mere mention of the word “taxes” rings a libertarian-troll dinner bell.


You broke my like button!

Y’know, I think this is another “why do I care” item – not why do I care that someone got caught for tax fraud, but why should I care who he was or how he got the money that he was hiding?

The latter questions strike me as being closer to gossip than news. Unless you’re going to do something like boycotting the Ty products. Which will probably have zero effect on him.

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