A jury found Richard Hatch, who won $1 million on the first season of the CBS reality show "Survivor," guilty on three counts of tax evasion for failing to pay taxes on his winnings and other income.
Hatch was taken into custody after U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres said that he was a potential flight risk. He was acquitted of seven bank, mail and wire fraud charges and will face up to 13 years in prison and a fine of $600,000 when he returns for sentencing on April 28.
Despite accounts from "Survivor" producers and local accountants, Hatch said that he thought someone else was responsible for paying taxes on his prize winnings, as well as on $327,000 he earned for hosting a radio show and another $28,000 in rental earnings. His defense mostly relied on his attorney's argument that Hatch is a terrible bookkeeper and wasn't qualified to handle so much money.
Hatch had made a deal with the feds last year, agreeing to plead guilty to two counts of tax evasion in return for lenient sentencing. But then he reneged, and angry prosecutors hit him with eight new felonies - and decades more potential jail time.The jury reached its decision in less than a day after more than a week of testimony. Hatch, a former corporate trainer, rejected a plea deal in March in which he would have pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion.
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