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Wealthy felons

To the Editor:

Honest income tax payers have to take up the slack for dishonest wealthy felons who have avoided paying their taxes with hidden off shore banking accounts. The loss of income to state and federal entities can be traced to the rise of income tax rates.

In 2009, Swiss banking giant UBS AG admitted it helped U.S. taxpayers hide money abroad. To avoid criminal charges, the bank turned over more than 4,000 names to U.S. authorities. One of those named is Ty Warner who had an undeclared Swiss bank account that earned nearly $25 million in income interest since 1996. Warner concealed the offshore account from his own accountants and lied on federal tax forms. Ty Warner, the creator of Beanie Babies plush babies, pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion. Warner escaped the federal sentencing guidelines of prison time of 46 months to 57 months and was given probation along with heavy fines as well as payment of $27 million in back taxes.

Of the other names submitted, nearly two-thirds of 47 defendants charged with federal tax evasion sentenced so far have received probation, with many others receiving prison time of six months or less. Evidently, a wealthy felon can just write a check to absolve the crime.

Julie Stewart Ziesman,

Waukee

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