Friday, December 3, 2010


Thought this was an interesting article on Richard Hatch by the Detroit Free Press.

Hatch revives reality career, and seeks to reverse tax conviction

Richard Salit / Providence Journal

Newport, R.I.— When he won the first season of "Survivor" in 2000, Richard Hatch had no idea what being a survivor would truly mean in the years ahead.

After winning the reality show's $1 million prize and cashing in on his newfound celebrity, the Middletown, R.I., native was indicted for tax evasion, convicted at a media-sensation of a trial and sentenced to more than four years in prison.


As determined as he was to outlast his fellow contestants on the island of Borneo, Hatch today is just as determined to prove his innocence. He has also revitalized his TV career, capitalizing on his image as one of realitydom's most infamous and outrageous characters — the gay antihero whose cunning, arrogance and naked antics made him a star.

Hatch says he will be a contestant on the next season of Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice," to air in the spring.

While he is mum on details about his "Apprentice" appearance, Hatch invites a reporter to listen to his account of how he has been mistreated by the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. prosecutors and the federal courts.

On a weekday morning, he buys a bottle of water and sits at a cafe, just a few miles from the house that he shares with his sister. Now 49, the once-overweight corporate trainer looks much as he did on "Survivor" and in federal court in 2006.

Hatch says that after all of these years, the IRS has yet to tell him what he owes. He provides copies of a pair of refund checks, each for about $1,000, which he received for subsequent years and says the IRS wouldn't be returning money to him if he was delinquent. An IRS spokesman, Jim Dupree, said that while that is generally true, he is prohibited by law from discussing Hatch's case and its circumstances.

"I think it's unequivocal proof that I don't owe anything, nor have I ever owed anything beyond what I paid already when I originally filed in 2000 and 2001," Hatch says. "There may come a day when the IRS completes its assessment, which it has not yet done in what, eight years now?"

In 2006, a Providence, R.I., jury convicted him of two counts of tax evasion and one count of filing a false tax return. Prosecutors argued that Hatch did not claim income on his "Survivor" winnings, rental income and charitable contributions he allegedly used for personal expenses.

Judge Ernest Torres, after concluding that Hatch had lied repeatedly under oath, slapped him with the maximum sentence allowed — 51 months in prison.

Hatch served about 31/2 years in federal prison in West Virginia and was released to a halfway house and then to home confinement. But he wound up serving the rest of his sentence after giving unauthorized interviews in which he asserted that prosecutors, the judge and jurors were biased against him because he's gay.

Former U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente has denied the accusation.

While on home confinement, Hatch was denied permission to move to Argentina, his spouse's native country. ("We're happily married," he says.) Nor could he even leave the country, preventing him from accepting offers to appear in "Survivor: Samoa" and "Survivor: Heroes and Villains." His passport is still being withheld.

A year into his probation, Hatch is eligible to request early termination of his supervised release. He filed that request Nov. 4. A motion he made in U.S. District Court seeking exoneration has not been decided in the more than 11/2 years since he filed it.

Meanwhile, Hatch says he is taking legal steps to compel the IRS to complete its assessment of his taxes. He says he appears in a new documentary called "Death or Taxes." And he's working on a book about his life. His adopted son, Chris, is a junior at the University of Rhode Island and is participating in a semester-at-sea program.

"Nobody will destroy my life," Hatch says, but "they have stolen part of my life for which I'm interested in holding them accountable."

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined comment.

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