Richard Hatch Does Not Survive IRS Audit

When I saw the headline, “Hatch Guilty of Failing to Pay Taxes,” I naturally presumed that Utah’s Orrin Hatch was in some trouble. It turns out to be the naked hairy guy from the first season of “Survivor.”

Richard Hatch, who won $1 million in the first season of “Survivor,” was found guilty Wednesday of failing to pay taxes on his winnings. Hatch was handcuffed and taken into custody after U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres said he was a potential flight risk. He also was convicted of evading taxes on $327,000 he earned as co-host of a Boston radio show and $28,000 in rent on property he owned. He was acquitted of seven bank, mail and wire fraud charges.

Hatch, 44, faces up to 13 years in prison and a fine of $600,000. Sentencing was scheduled for April 28.


More than five years after winning, Hatch remains reality TV’s most famous villain, the man viewers loved to hate. He first captured their attention for shedding his clothes on “Survivor,” prompting David Letterman to call him “the fat naked guy.” But he made the biggest impression — and won the show — by scheming his way to the top. He reveled as squabbles among his fellow contestants thinned their ranks, connived with teammates to stick together then pitted his allies against each other.

Early on, he used his success on the show to get more work, including a “Got Milk?” ad and an appearance on “Survivor All-Stars” — where he was voted off by fellow contestants. He also appeared on TV game shows, including “The Weakest Link.” That appearance, made on behalf of Horizon Bound, netted a $10,000 donation to his charity camp — money prosecutors said was among the funds misused.

But Hatch’s shrewdness did not serve him well in the legal world. A year ago, prosecutors offered him a deal: plead guilty to two counts of tax evasion and they would recommend less than the maximum 10-year sentence.

As with the Dukes of Hazzard, making his way any way he knew how was just a little bit more than the law would allow.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Hatch was handcuffed and taken into custody after U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres said he was a potential flight risk.

    After all, the guy could flee into the desert & survive for weeks.

  2. Mark says:

    Did the judge place all the juror’s votes in a box and pull them out one at a time and announce it? Hehe.

  3. legion says:

    Oh good – I was worried you were talking about the guy who played Apollo on the old Battlestar Galactica…

  4. LJD says:

    He should be very popular in prison.