IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

‘Survivor’ winner pleads innocent to tax evasion

Hatch faces maximum of 75 years in prison if found guilty on all charges
/ Source: The Associated Press

Richard Hatch, who won $1 million on the first season of the reality show “Survivor,” pleaded innocent Monday to charges that he failed to pay taxes on his winnings and other income.

Hatch has been charged with tax evasion, filing a false tax return, wire fraud, bank fraud and mail fraud. He entered the plea in U.S. District Court.

A grand jury indictment filed earlier this month said Hatch filed false tax returns for 2000 and 2001 that omitted his income from the CBS show, $327,000 he was paid to co-host a radio show and $28,000 in rent on a property he owns in Newport.

Hatch, 44, also was accused of misusing $36,500 from a nonprofit camp he set up, Horizon Bound.

The former corporate trainer said the 10-count indictment was retribution for his refusal earlier this year to follow through with a plea deal.

“It was absurd in the spring, and it’s still absurd,” he said. “They thought I was going to accept two years in jail for something I didn’t do.”

Hatch told reporters outside the court before the hearing began that he was innocent. “I’ve never taken a penny from a charity, and they know it. I’ve always paid my taxes, and they know it. I think it’s personal at this point.”

U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente said Hatch knew what he was getting into.

“After he decided not to go forward ... we did exactly what we said we were going to do, which was submit the information to a grand jury,” Corrente 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.

Judge Lincoln Almond released Hatch on $50,000 bond but restricted his travel to Rhode Island and Houston, where his lawyer’s office is located, and ordered him to turn over his passport.

In March, Hatch told several news organizations that he thought CBS was responsible for paying the taxes on his “Survivor” prize. CBS has said Hatch knew it was his responsibility to pay taxes on the money.