Reality TV star Richard Hatch is fighting to be freed from a US prison by claiming, ironically, that he did not pay tax money owed to the Malaysian government.Hatch shot to fame a decade ago when he emerged as the winner of the first season of “Survivor”, which was set on Pulau Tiga, off the coast of Sabah.He gained notoriety a few years back when he was jailed for three years for not paying the United States’ Inland Revenue Service (IRS) taxes on his US$1 million “Survivor” winnings.
The 50-year-old, who was recently sent back to prison for violating the terms of his previous release, is now claiming he has new evidence to show that the taxes are really owed to the government of Malaysia and not the US government, The Washington Post reported.
According to Hatch, the US Tax Court is reviewing that development, the influential US daily reported in a news report on August 22, under the headline: “‘Survivor’ winner Hatch says he’s destitute, seeks public lawyer as he appeals sentence”.
Hatch claimed the IRS has not told him the amount owed from 10 years ago.
Filings in a US district court made public last week showed Hatch is fighting his current nine-month jail sentence handed down in March this year.
He is also demanding he has a right to free legal aid, which the US magistrate is saying should be denied because the appeal is not “taken in good faith”.
He was quoted as saying in his handwritten court filing, that he is “financially destitute”.
Hatch is behind bars at FCI-Morgantown in West Virginia and is expected to be released in December.
“Survivor: Borneo”, as hosted by Jeff Probst, was a hit when it was broadcast in 2000 over CBS, and eventually led to a boom in the reality TV business.