Reality TV star Richard Hatch, who spent more than three years behind bars for tax evasion, should go to jail for violating the conditions of his supervised release, federal prosecutors recommended Monday.
Hatch was convicted in 2006 of failing to pay taxes on the $1 million prize he won on the debut season of "Survivor," the CBS reality TV show. He was released from prison in 2009 and began serving a three-year term of supervised release.
He was ordered to file amended tax returns for 2000 and 2001 as a condition of his release, which Hatch has failed to do. A judge this month found Hatch in violation of his supervised release but postponed a punishment until he could hear more arguments from both sides.
Hatch, who owes about $1.7 million in back taxes, has said he didn't refile his taxes because he has an appeal pending with the U.S. Tax Court. His lawyer also is scheduled to submit her sentencing recommendation sometime Monday, and U.S. District Judge William Smith has said he'll schedule a sentencing after he receives the arguments.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Reich recommended in a sentencing memorandum on Monday that Hatch go to jail and be required to refile his amended returns. He said Hatch has a pattern of lying and defying court orders.
Reich did not recommend the length of a jail sentence, though Hatch has about two years left of supervised release.
"The defendant's punishment for violating the terms of his supervised release should take into account the fact that the defendant has failed to accept responsibility for his conduct, that he has disregarded the order of the court, and that he has continued to make false representations to the court just as he did during his trial," Reich wrote.
Hatch became reality TV's first villain when he bested the "Survivor" competition with a beguiling mix of intelligence and ruthlessness. He was charged in 2005 in Rhode Island, where he lives, with failing to pay taxes on his "Survivor" prize and other income. He was sentenced to 51 months in prison, with a judge giving him extra time for lying on the stand.
Hatch, who is openly gay, has since complained that he was unfairly prosecuted in part because of his sexuality — a charge prosecutors say is absurd.