Los Angeles Times

'Survivor' Winner Hatch Sentenced

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The million dollars Richard Hatch won on the first "Survivor" is going to end up costing him a lot more than whatever he owed in taxes.

Hatch was sentenced to more than four years in prison Tuesday for tax evasion stemming from his "Survivor" winnings and earnings from a Boston radio show and a rental property he owned. He maintained during his trial that he thought CBS would pay the taxes on his "Survivor" prize.

The 51-month sentence is a little harsher than the proposed term put forth during Hatch's trial in January. U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres says he increased the term because of Hatch's testimony during the case, which the judge found "inherently incredible."

"There's no nice way to say it: Mr. Hatch lied," Torres says.

Hatch, not surprisingly, disagrees, telling the judge prior to being sentenced, that "I believe I've been completely truthful and completely forthcoming throughout the entire process."

Hatch won the inaugural "Survivor" in the summer of 2000, in front of an audience of more than 50 million people. He also appeared on the show's "All-Stars" edition in 2004.

During the trial, though not in the presence of the jury, Hatch's lawyer claimed that his client and CBS worked out an agreement that the network would pay the taxes on the "Survivor" prize if Hatch won, in exchange for his silence about cheating he allegedly witnessed during the game. Hatch never mentioned the supposed agreement during his testimony.

In addition to the prison time, Hatch was ordered to pay back taxes for 2000 and 2001 and to undergo psychological counseling. His attorney, Michael Minns, says Hatch will appeal his conviction.

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