Facing charges of tax evasion, original "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch last week decided to take his chances with a grand jury, pulling out of a plea bargain that had been arranged with the U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island. In January, the government charged that Hatch had filed a false income tax return that omitted the more than $1 million in prize money that he received for winning the popular reality show. He also was charged with failing to report approximately $321,000 paid to him by a Boston radio station for co-hosting a program. Hatch, who lives in Newport, had agreed to plead guilty in return for a lighter sentence. Last Wednesday, however, prosecutors said that he had backed out of the plea deal, and so they dismissed the original charges and said that they would present their case to a grand jury. "The government will not pursue the information filed against Mr. Hatch in January," said Tom Connell, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island, "and will instead present the case to a grand jury for consideration of all possible charges."
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