Accountant Testifies At Hatch Trial
Accountant Says She Warned Hatch Not To File 'Comparison' Return
'Survivor' Accused Of Failing To Pay Taxes On $1 Million Prize
PROVIDENCE -- An accountant for "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch warned the reality TV star not to file a tax return omitting the $1 million prize he won from the hit CBS show, she testified Wednesday during Hatch's federal tax fraud trial.
Hatch, of Newport, is accused of failing to pay taxes on his prize and also using for himself donations made to a charity he created.
Accountant Jodi Rodrigues Wallis said she prepared a 2000 tax return for Hatch that showed he owed the Internal Revenue Service about $234,000. At Hatch's request, Wallis said she prepared a second return calculating how much he would have owed had he not won the prize.
During opening statements, Hatch's lawyer, Michael Minns, said Hatch wanted the return prepared without the prize money for comparison purposes.
The accountant showed Hatch the second return on March 19, 2002, and made him sign a statement warning the analysis was "not meant to be filed," she said. According to prosecutors, Hatch left the accountant's Middletown office that same day and mailed the IRS the incorrect return.
Wallis said she was shocked when she later learned Hatch had filed her second analysis.
On cross-examination, Hatch's lawyer questioned whether Wallis was just trying to protect herself by making Hatch sign the agreement.
Wallis' testimony came a day after accountant Richard Plotkin told jurors that he prepared an income tax return for Hatch in 2000. He said he advised Hatch to pay income tax on his prize, and that Hatch never objected.
Hatch has said he thought CBS was responsible for paying the taxes on his winnings, though CBS has said Hatch was aware he had to pay.
Wallis said she never contacted CBS to find out if the network had paid the taxes on Hatch's prize.