Richard Hatch, who won $1 million on the first season of the reality show “Survivor,” was indicted Thursday for failing to pay taxes on his winnings from the CBS show.
Hatch faces 10 charges, including tax evasion, filing a false tax return, wire fraud, bank fraud and mail fraud. U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente said Hatch, 44, did not pay taxes on his “Survivor” prize, income from a radio show and rental income. The Newport resident also allegedly used donations to his charity, Horizon Bound, to cover personal expenses.
Prosecutors charged Hatch with two counts of tax evasion in January. He agreed to plead guilty, but backed out of the deal in March, saying he thought CBS was responsible for paying the taxes on his prize. CBS has said Hatch was well aware of his obligations to pay taxes on the money.
On Thursday, Hatch was on a plane headed for Houston to help hurricane victims at the Astrodome and could not be reached for comment, said Rod Mitchell, a spokesman for Hatch’s lawyer, Michael Minns.
The grand jury, which received the case after the plea deal fell apart, indicted Hatch for filing false 2000 and 2001 tax returns, which omitted his income from the reality show, $327,000 he was paid to co-host “The Wilde Show” on a Boston radio station and $28,000 in rent on a property he owns in Newport.
The indictment said Hatch had two accountants prepare tax returns that included his “Survivor” winnings but did not file them when he learned he would owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. In 2002, he had one of the accountants prepare a second return that did not include his TV show winnings. He filed that one, which called for a $4,500 refund, the indictment said.
Hatch was also accused of misusing $36,500 from a nonprofit camp he set up, Horizon Bound. For example, he allegedly kept for himself a $10,000 donation made in return for his appearance on the NBC game show “Weakest Link.” He spent the money from the game show on a construction project at his house, the indictment said.
Hatch faces a maximum of 75 years in prison if found guilty on all charges. He also could face millions of dollars in fines.
On “Survivor,” Hatch stood out for being a cunning and ruthless competitor, and spent some of his time in the nude. He won the show’s first season in August 2000. He has since appeared on other TV shows, most recently the “Battle of the Network Reality Stars” on Bravo.
Since the TV show, Hatch has weathered a series of legal battles. He was arrested in April 2000 on a charge of abusing his then 9-year-old son. That charge was later dropped. In 2002, Hatch was found innocent of assaulting his ex-boyfriend.