Richard Hatch, who became briefly famous for winning $1 million on the first season of “Survivor,” is now again briefly famous for being indicted on charges of failing to pay taxes on the $1 million that he won. Hatch was also accused of failing to pay taxes on another $350,000 that he earned for post-Survivor antics, as well as misusing over $36,000 collected by a nonprofit that he founded.
According to reports, Hatch first agreed to plead guilty to the charges earlier this year, but then changed his mind, claiming that he thought CBS was supposed to pay the taxes on the prize money. (It wasn’t.) Problems with this defense may include the fact that, at least according to the indictment, Hatch initially had his accountants prepare tax returns that included the $1 million, but then did not file them when to his surprise it became apparent that the taxes on $1 million in income are a lot of money. Prosecutors said that Hatch later filed a second return that did not include the $1 million. That return in fact called for a $4,500 refund, which is much better indeed.
Hatch faces up to 75 years in prison and a very large fine. According to a spokesman for his lawyer, which reminds me that I need to get myself a spokesman, I guess, Hatch could not be reached for comment Thursday because he was allegedly on a plane to Houston, where he planned to help hurricane victims at the Astrodome.