Survivor Winner Indicted For Fraud

A federal grand jury indicted Richard Hatch, the winner of the first CBS Survivor reality television series in 2000, on charges of tax evasion and fraudulently using charitable donations for personal expenses Thursday.

A 10-count indictment alleges that Hatch failed to report more than $1 million in income from Survivor and about $391,000 in income from six other sources.

Hatch, best known as Survivor's best villain and for appearing naked on the first episode, was indicted by a grand jury in Providence, R.I.

The indictment is the result of a grand jury investigation that began after an information was dismissed in March charging Hatch with two counts of tax evasion.

According to the indictment, Survivor Entertainment Group paid Hatch $1,010,000 in August 2000 for appearing on the final episode of the initial "Survivor" series and for being declared the winner. In 2001, a Newport, R.I. accounting firm prepared a 2000 tax return for Hatch that included Hatch's Survivor income and concluded that he owed $441,501 in taxes. Hatch allegedly never filed that return.

In December 2001 Hatch hired a Middletown, R.I. accountant to prepare another 2000 return for him. That return, which also reflected the Survivor income, concluded that Hatch owed $234,807 in taxes. Hatch allegedly never filed that return, either.

In the fall of 2002, Hatch asked the Middletown accountant to prepare a 2000 return that did not reflect the Survivor income. The accountant did so but cautioned Hatch that the return, which called for a $4,483 refund, was for "informational" purposes only and was not to be filed. The indictment alleges that, contrary to the accountant's warning, Hatch filed that "informational" return with the IRS.

According to the indictment, Hatch also failed to report other income for 2000 and 2001, including the value of the Pontiac Aztec given to him as part of his Survivor prize, more than $300,000 given to him to appear on a Boston radio program and about $28,000 he earned as rent for a property he owns in Newport.

Hatch allegedly used $36,500 in donations to Horizon Bound, a charity he created, for his personal expenses.

The indictment charges Hatch with two counts of tax evasion, one count of filing a false S-Corporation income tax return, two counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, and one count of bank fraud. The maximum penalty for each count of tax evasion, wire fraud, and mail fraud is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.