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Monday, September 12, 2005

IRS Indicts Survivor Star

Back in law school, my professor in Criminal Tax class shared with us how the IRS loves to indict celebrities and high profile individuals for tax fraud. The reason for this is the high amount of publicity that such indictments (and convictions) garner, thus enhancing the public perception of risk of tax fraud prosecutions should they engage in fraudulent behavior.

Over the years, I have seen this play out many times with major and minor celebrities. The most recent example is Richard Hatch, a star of the reality television show Survivor.

Hatch was recently indicted on ten counts of tax evasion and bank fraud. While his attorney calls the indictment "a publicity scheme," Hatch could end up paying fines of over $1 million and spending 73 years in jail if convicted on all counts.Hatch is accused of not reporting his $1 million in winnings and that he pocketed $36,500 in donations to his foundation. According to various internet sources, earlier this year Hatch had made a plea agreement with the government but he backed out of the deal.

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