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Gay Survivor Guilty


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Gay Survivor Guilty

by Mary Ellen Peterson, 365Gay.com San Francisco Bureau

Posted: January 25, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(Providence Rhode Island) Richard Hatch, the gay man who won a million dollars winning the first season of "Survivor" was found guilty on Wednesday of failing to pay taxes on the money.

The jury also convicted him of evading taxes on $327,000 he earned for co-hosting a radio show and $28,000 in rent on property he owned.

However, he was acquitted of seven charges of bank, mail and wire fraud.

Hatch was handcuffed and taken into custody after the verdict because the judge considered him a potential flight risk.

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

Prosecutors said during closing arguments on Tuesday that Hatch failed to pay the IRS because he was greedy. They also claimed he used donations meant for a charity he created to renovate his former home.

Hatch’s attorney Michael Minns said lawyers and accountants repeatedly gave Hatch poor advice. Minns said Hatch never intended to defraud anyone.

Testifying on his own behalf last week Hatch said that he had struck a deal with producers during the taping of the show and that they had agreed to pay the taxes if he won the big prize. (story)

The show's producer, Mark Burnett, testified earlier in the trial, but neither the defense nor prosecutors asked him about any such deal.

On "Survivor," Hatch regularly shed his clothes and stood out for being a cunning and ruthless competitor.

He won the show's first season in August 2000. He has since appeared on other TV shows, most recently the "Battle of the Network Reality Stars" on Bravo.

This isn't his first brush with the law. He was arrested in April 2000 on a charge of abusing his then 9-year-old son. That charge was later dropped.

©365Gay.com 2006

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