Frank A. Rubino , ESQ.

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Reality TV star given tax evasion sentence

A person can face heavy punishments if he or she is convicted of hiding income from the U.S. government. One type of income a person can get in trouble with the government for hiding is prize income. This can be seen in a recent tax evasion sentence that was given to a former reality television show participant.

The case involves a man who starred on the reality television show "Survivor." The man won a $1 million prize during his time with the show. Several years ago, the man was accused and convicted of committing tax evasion in relation to this prize. He served over three years in prison in connection to this conviction. In 2009, the man left prison and began serving a three-year supervised release.

Recently, a hearing occurred regarding accusations that the man had failed to comply with terms of his release. One of the terms of his release was that he was supposed repay the taxes that he failed to pay in connection to his "Survivor" prize.

Authorities claimed that the man failed to comply with this term. The man claimed that he has been working hard to repay the taxes, but that his tax situation is complicated and that it would take time.

The judge apparently did not agree with the man's arguments, as the hearing concluded with the judge sentencing the man to serve nine months in prison. The man reportedly plans to appeal this decision. It will be interesting to see what the result of this appeal will be.

This case underscores how being accused of failing to pay taxes on income, including prize income, can have serious repercussions for an individual. Thus, if one is facing these types of accusations, one may wish to consider seeking advice from a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Source: The Associated Press, "'Survivor' star Hatch gets 9 months on violation," (Article no longer available online) 10 March 2011

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