Hatch calls charges of fraud and tax evasion "absurd"

On Thursday, September 8, a federal grand jury in Rhode Island served Richard Hatch with an indictment for tax evasion, filing a false return, and several counts of fraud. The Associated Press reported that the Survivor star was accused of failing to report the $1 million he won on the reality competition, the $327,000 he made hosting a Boston radio show, and the $28,000 in income from a rental property he owns. Hatch also allegedly used $36,500 in donations meant for his charity, Horizon Bound, for his own unspecified purposes.

In a court hearing this morning, Hatch pleaded innocent to all 10 charges filed against him.

Hatch's hefty indictment is apparently a result of his reneging on a two-count plea bargain offered to him in January.

"After he decided not to go forward...we did exactly what we said we were going to do, which was submit the information to a grand jury," US Attorney Robert Clark Corrente told the Associated Press.

In a statement made to reporters outside the courthouse where his hearing took place, Hatch said he believed the indictment "was absurd in the spring, and it's still absurd. They thought I was going to accept two years in jail for something I didn't do...I've never taken a penny from a charity, and they know it. I've always paid my taxes, and they know it. I think it's personal at this point."

If convicted on all counts, Hatch could face up to 73 years in prison and a $1.35 million fine.

Hatch is presently free on a $50,000 bond but was forced to turn in his passport and to promise to leave the state of Rhode Island only for visits with his lawyer, whose offices are located in Houston, Texas.

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