Richard Hatch, the winner of the first season of CBS's Survivor who was sent to prison a second time last May for failing to pay the taxes on his $1 million prize from that show, has been released from the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, according to E! Online.
In 2009, Hatch was released from prison after serving three years for tax evasion. Hatch had been ordered to re-file his 2000 and 2001 taxes, but failed to do so. Hatch owes an estimated $2 million to the IRS for his winnings, other income, and penalties. Earlier this year Hatch appeared as a contestant on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice and in an interview with The Advocate in February he said that he was worried about the possible return to prison.
"Prosecutors are desperate to uphold this wrongful conviction," Hatch said. "I've served nearly four years in prison, my entire sentence, and I'm on supervised release, which other people know as probation. I've also done everything humanly possible to comply with the original judge's special conditions. One condition was that he ordered me to get mental health counseling. Probation got me a psychiatrist who said he didn't understand why I was even there, so probation said I'd met that condition. The second condition was that he ordered me to amend my tax returns from 2000 and 2001, but they're still the subject of an ongoing audit. To this day, the IRS has never given me a bill, so no taxes have ever been determined to be due. You can't submit amended returns in the midst of an audit, not that I could submit them anyway because I haven't been given figures as to how those returns should be amended. Not knowing what to do, the prosecutors just submitted their last brief on January 31, arguing to put me back in prison for not amending the returns. It's infuriating. Now we're waiting for the judge to decide what to do -- decide whether this is a technical violation or whether I'm thumbing my nose at the court, which I'm obviously not. I've been in communication with probation this entire year and a half, and I have a hundred emails that express my cooperation with the IRS. But I'm still worried because I've seen what's happened before. It's not always about what's true."