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'Survivor' producer Mark Burnett testifies as Richard Hatch trial begins

UPI News Service, 01/12/2006 

"Survivor" boss Mark Burnett told the Providence, R.I., tax evasion trial of Richard Hatch Thursday the $1 million winner knew he was supposed to pay taxes.

Hatch is accused of failing to include his $1 million in "Survivor" winnings on his federal tax returns -- as well as $327,000 he got from a Boston radio show and $28,000 from rental property.

Hatch's attorney, Michael Minns, told the court his client -- the first "Survivor" winner -- is "the world's worst bookkeeper, bar none," E! Online reported.

Minns said Hatch, 44, depended on an accountant to handle his taxes and she was "in over her head."

Prosecutor Andrew Reich, however, told the jury Hatch "willfully" failed to report his earnings to the Internal Revenue Service and even sought a $4,500 refund for 2001 -- the year he won "Survivor."

Burnett testified all contestants sign an agreement before the show stating they would be responsible for all taxes on their winnings.

Hatch has pleaded not guilty to tax evasion, filing a false tax return, wire fraud, bank fraud and mail fraud. He could face 75 years in jail if convicted.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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