'Survivor' champ Richard Hatch wants to serve release in Argentina
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/13/2009
Richard Hatch has been refused an early prison release, so now he apparently wants to serve his supervised release in South America.
The original Survivor winner has filed a motion in U.S. District Court asking for travel freedom to live in Buenos Aires, Argentina under supervision once his 51-month jail sentence expires, The Providence Journalreported Friday.
Hatch was convicted on tax evasion charges in January 2006 and is scheduled to be released from federal prison and moved to a halfway house on May 12, according to The Journal, which added his supervised release would begin in October.
Hatch requested the travel freedom because he is currently married to an Argentine national whose family is unable to travel to the U.S., The Journal reported. Should his request be denied, Hatch has asked that the court at least let him visit Argentina and seek income opportunities -- including potential "guest appearances" on upcoming Survivor editions -- abroad.
The federal government opposes the 47-year-old Newport, R.I. native's request on the grounds that the sentence requires he complete mental-health counseling, file amended tax returns for 2000 and 2001 and pay $400,000 in back taxes, according to The Journal.
Hatch has failed to file corrected tax returns or pay any of the taxes he owes, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew J. Reich, who told The Journal the federal government will seek to revoke the supervised release should Hatch not file an amended tax return.
"[Hatch] describes himself as 'a rational, nonsmoking, drug-free and responsible citizen...' who is not in need of supervision," Reich wrote, according to The Journal.
"He overlooks the fact, however, that [former Chief U.S. District Judge Ernest C.] Torres found that Hatch is in need of supervision, including mental-health counseling. Part of his reasoning in this regard was based on the fact [that] Hatch perjured himself extensively during the trial."
At Hatch's eight-day trial two years ago, prosecutors presented evidence that he "intentionally avoided" paying taxes on income from Survivor, a stint as a radio-show host, celebrity appearances and rental property. A 12-person jury found the now 47-year-old guilty of two tax evasion counts and one count of filing a false corporate return.
Hatch has previously claimed that he believed either CBS or Survivor's production company would pay for the taxes on his $1 million winnings -- an allegation that even if true, would still not address Hatch's conviction for evading taxes on the Pontiac Aztec he received as Survivor's winner; $28,000 of real estate rental income; and an additional $327,000 that he earned during a Boston radio show co-host stint that followed his Survivor win.