In the 1990s and early 2000s, reality television as we know it today was still relatively new. And leading the pack was a CBS series called Survivor.

The first season, Survivor: Borneo, was initially broadcast on May 31, 2000. The show dropped a group of strangers on an island where they had to find or create food, fire, and shelter and work together in teams. Along the way, they competed in challenges and were voted out by their fellow contestants, until only one remained and won the $1 million prize.

The first ever winner of Survivor was Richard Hatch. But after his win, Richard was soon charged with tax evasion on that $1 million prize. This week Kelly and Richard discuss his experiences before, during and after the tax evasion conviction.  

Richard, On Life After Survivor  

Little did Richard know; he would still be fighting for his survival once departing the show. Richard anticipated coming home a hero, instead he was watched closely by the IRS and soon convicted of tax crimes. Rich and Kelly – and some facts that some folks may not know. Years later, with his time served and completion of sentencing, he talks about the hardships and lessons learned. Here’s his story.

Listen to Kelly and Richard discuss: 

  • Summary of Survivor TV and IRS Tax Evasion Case  
  • Richard’s Expectations Following his Time on the Show Survivor  
  • The Public’s Perception on Survivor Contestants and Gaming Rules 
  • The Timeline of Hatch’s Case and Arrest 
  • The Conviction Process 
  • Post Prosecution Hardships 
  • Richard Arrested for NBC Media Interview 
  • How Power and Influence Impacts Case Outcomes 
  • Contract Changes Post Richard’s Experience  
  • Survivor Compensation Terms  
  • How this Has Shifted Richard’s Opinions, Mindset and Life 
  • How Richard Copes with Judgement and Regret 
  • Repercussions of Perception & The Reality of Recognition  
  • The Powerful and Positive Side 

About Kelly: 

Kelly Phillips Erb created and hosts the Taxgirl podcast, your home for tax news, tax info and tax policy. In each episode, she shares conversations about taxes, money and the choices we make. Kelly is a practicing tax attorney who works with taxpayers like you every day. She helps folks out of tax jams, and hopefully, keep others from getting into them.

You can find out more about Kelly here and you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.

Kelly’s Website – Taxgirl  

Richard Hatch – Twitter 

TV Game Show – Survivor 

Richard Hatch Trial – United States v. Hatch 

Richard’s Arrest for – NBC Interview 

Similar Case to Richard’s – Michael Cohen 

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  1. Barry Smith Reply

    Kelly, On this same page you have a summary of the trial- Hatch was obviously guilty and the jury only took about a day to decide. Why did you not ask him any tough questions, like about the two CPAs who prepared returns reporting the income- which he did not file? Or the contract he signed stating he was responsible for his taxes. You let him play the victim when he was not a victim. Much like Robin Roberts interviewing Jussie Smollett. But she was not an attorney, and you are.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      This case has been around for well over a decade. In that time, I’ve written pretty extensively about the charges and the trial (as well as the appeals). I’ve also – as mentioned in the podcast – been pretty harsh when I wrote about those things.

      As with Jeff Grant (in the first episode), my focus in the podcast wasn’t so much about what Hatch did or didn’t do, but what he thinks about it now. I wasn’t as interested in rehashing the trial bits, including the specific info that you referenced which was brought up at trial, since those details are widely known and to some extent, settled. But there were bits that were not allowed at trial (that was the basis of some of the appeals) and I think talking about those things has value.

      Ultimately, Hatch was found guilty and he served his time. I was more interested in what he thinks about it now, looking back, and what he took from the experience.

      One quick note: While I didn’t watch the Roberts interview, these cases are very different. Smollett was charged but his case has not gone to trial, so there’s likely information that we haven’t yet heard. It’s also still (relatively) fresh. In contrast, Hatch’s case did go to trial and there was a verdict. I had no interest in re-litigating it all of these years later.

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