'Survivor' Hatch Ends Federal Evasion Sentence

“Survivor” winner Richard Hatch was released from a Massachusetts jail early Friday after completing a federal sentence for evading taxes on the $1 million he won during the CBS reality show’s first season.

Hatch was freed shortly before 6 a.m. from Barnstable County jail in Bourne, Mass., sheriff spokesman Roy Lyons said. He was driven home to Newport, R.I., by sheriff’s deputies and arrived there around 7:30 a.m., Lyons said.

A message left at his home Friday morning was not immediately returned.

Hatch, 48, now faces three years of supervised release. He won’t be able to leave Rhode Island without permission and must check in with his probation officer regularly, said Barry Weiner, chief U.S. probation officer for Rhode Island. Hatch doesn’t have a job yet, but he will have to find one, Weiner said. He must also complete a mental health program.

Hatch’s husband is from Argentina, and he has asked the court unsuccessfully in the past to grant him permission to live there and to go overseas to participate in a “Survivor” reunion show. Weiner said those on supervised release are typically only allowed to leave the country under special circumstances, but he wouldn’t speak specifically about Hatch’s case.

Hatch remains one of reality TV’s most famous villains, the man viewers loved to hate. He first captured their attention for shedding his clothes on “Survivor,” prompting David Letterman to nickname 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.

In 2006, he was convicted of tax evasion for not paying taxes on his “Survivor” winnings, as well as on $327,000 he earned as co-host of a Boston radio show and $28,000 in income from rental property. The judge tacked on extra prison time to his sentence after finding he had lied on the stand, giving him a 51-month prison term.

Under the terms of Hatch’s supervised release, he must refile his 2000 and 2001 tax returns and pay all his back taxes, Weiner said.

After serving several years behind bars, Hatch was released to home confinement earlier this year and was supposed to complete his sentence at his sister’s home in Newport. But in August he got into trouble with the Bureau of Prisons when he granted three television interviews to NBC’s “Today” show,” local NBC affiliate WJAR-TV and the NBC-owned “Access Hollywood.”

The Bureau of Prisons said he was only authorized to give the “Today” interview and ordered him taken to jail for violating the rules. Hatch’s lawyer said they thought all three were allowed, and Hatch said he was being punished for comments he made during the interviews, when he criticized the judge and prosecutor in his case and said he was discriminated against because he is gay.

A federal judge last month found that Hatch broke the rules and allowed the Bureau of Prisons to add nine days to Hatch’s time behind bars as punishment.

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