Richard Hatch, 44, the winner of the first Survivor
and $1 million dollars, pleaded innocent today to tax evasion in a district court in Providence. Hatch claims the charges are retribution for an earlier plea deal he refused that would have put him behind bars for 2 years. Additional charges include filing a false tax return, wire fraud bank fraud and mail fraud. He could get up to 75 years in jail and millions of dollars in fines if he is found guilty.
Hatch claimed he thought CBS was supposed to pay the taxes on the prize money. He was released on $50,000 bond and is restricted to Rhode Island and Houston.
How stupid can you be to go on a national TV show, win $1 million dollars and then not look into the tax situation as soon as you get the money?
A grand jury indictment filed earlier this month said Hatch filed false tax returns for 2000 and 2001 that omitted his income from the reality show, $327,000 he earned as co-host of "The Wilde Show" on WQSX-FM in Boston and $28,000 in rent on a property he owns in Newport.
The indictment also accused Hatch of misusing $36,500 from Horizon Bound, a nonprofit camp he set up. 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.
The indictment said Hatch had two accountants prepare tax returns for 2000 that included his "Survivor" winnings, but he 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 winnings from the television show. He filed that one, which called for a $4,500 refund, the indictment said.
OK, I understand the first part of that paragraph, but if this is all about his 2000 tax return why are they mentioning that in 2002 he received a $4,500 refund?