CHICAGO, Il. -

Montecito property owner and billionaire Ty Warner, who created Beanie Babies,has pleaded guilty to a tax evasion charge that could send him to prison for years.

Warner broke down crying in court and apologized as he entered his plea on Wednesday.   He appeared before a federal judge in Chicago.

He said he knew he had much to be thankful for, mentioning his successful stuffed-toys company,

He added, "There's no excuse for my actions."

Judge Charles Kocoras ordered Warner back to court for sentencing on  Jan. 15, 2014.

The 69-year-old admitted he failed to pay taxes after hiding an estimated $25 million in an overseas Swiss account.

Tax evasion carries a maximum five-year prison term. Warner will also have to pay penalties of $53 million.

Warner owns a Montecito mansion, the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, the San Ysidro Ranch and the Montecito Country Club.

He is one of the wealthiest businessmen in America with estimated fortune of $2.6 billion.