Richard Hatch Still Being Pursued Over Tax Evasion

Richard Hatch smiling

Getty "Survivor: Borneo" winner Richard Hatch at the "Survivor: All-Stars" reunion show in 2004.

Richard Hatch, the first-ever “Survivor” winner, made national headlines in the years after his $1,000,000 win for federal charges of tax evasion, for which he was found guilty and served 51 months in prison. He then served an additional nine months in 2011 for a probation violation.

Despite most of the news surrounding this controversy dying out in the early 2010s, Hatch is once again back in the news for some unlawful conduct involving taxes. And this time, he may lose his homes over it.

Here’s what you need to know:

Federal Prosecutors Accuse Hatch of Fraud, Request Permission to Seize His Home

Richard Hatch

GettyRichard Hatch at the 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 2000.

The Providence Journal reported that, earlier this month, federal prosecutors in Hatch’s native Rhode Island are seeking nearly $3 million from the reality TV star in back taxes and interest, dating back to his 2000 win. They are also asking U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to approve the seizure of two of his Newport, Rhode Island properties in order to recoup the deficit he owes to the government – properties which prosecutors say were fraudulently transferred by Hatch to his sister Kristin, in an attempt to outmaneuver the government.

The government lawsuit against Hatch read, in part, that as part of his 2006 prison sentence, “Hatch was also required to file amended income tax returns for the 2000 and 2001 tax years and pay all taxes due and owing as to those years, but he failed to do so.” It also seeks proof that Hatch is, in fact, the “true and equitable owner” of his properties, rather than his sister Kristin.

Furthermore, property purchased by Hatch in Nova Scotia shortly after his “Survivor” win was eventually included in a tax sale in 2013 – shortly after his release from prison – after he failed to pay over $2,700 in taxes, per the Cape Breton Post.

Hatch Has Always Professed His Innocence on Tax Evasion Charges

PrisonRichard Hatch discusses his wrongful conviction and being sent to prison directed, produced & edited by dante luna Filmed by dante luna & Malcolm Digital Book RICHARD HATCH for personalized video messages: RICHARD HATCH

Ever since being convicted in 2006 for tax evasion, Hatch has spoken out against the charge, insisting that he has “never attempted to evade a cent in my entire life.”

“I learned very, very quickly our system is utterly broken,” Hatch said in a February 2020 YouTube video made to address his criminal history. “And I learned over time that it’s not just the tax system — [it’s] the court system, the judges, the probation system, it’s all of it. It is an utter mess, and truth makes no difference.”

He added that he never agreed to a plea bargain, because he was not guilty. “I couldn’t do it,” he said. “It’s just a part of me. I can’t stand up and tell a court, ‘I attempted to evade taxes’ to try and get out of punishment when I didn’t do anything. So I refused.”

Hatch also said in the video that he was also charged with a host of other counts at the time — totaling 10 in all — but was acquitted on all but the tax evasion charge, which he said was “so confusing that even we couldn’t follow it.” He added that he was the target of an unethical collection of prosecutors and judges who targeted him because they believed he was an “cocky prick,” and that the judge – Ernest C. Torres – in particular was an “absolute unethical bastard” who had had prior complaints and sanctions against him.

So far, Hatch has yet to respond to any of the new charges specifically, and prosecutors have yet to seize his homes. But no doubt this is only the beginning of Hatch’s most recent legal battle.

“Survivor 43” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

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