Dr. Kent Hovind is a well-known evangelist in Biblical creationism.
After converting to Christ at the age of 16, Hovind immediately began his personal ministry in reaching those around him with the message of the Bible. He expressed an interest in mathematics and science that eventually led to his enrollment at Illinois Junior College as a science major. After two years of undergraduate work, he then moved to Midwestern Baptist College of Pontiac, Michigan, in 1974, where he received a Bachelor of Religious Education.
Hovind taught high school science and math for fifteen years while completing his master’s degree in education. His Ph.D. dissertation on creation and evolution later inspired him to establish Creation Science Evangelism, headquartered in Pensacola, Florida. Hovind is a young earth creationist, and accepts the King James Bible of 1611 as God’s inspired Word for English speaking people.
From 1989 until his arrest on tax fraud charges, Hovind traveled all over the world presenting the creation vs. evolution controversy in seminars, radio programs, debates, and other activities, speaking over 700 times a year. Much of his material is available free of charge on his website, including debate videos, seminar videos, and audio files.
Creation Science Evangelism
In 1996 Hovind filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition to avoid paying federal income taxes, claiming he was not a citizen of the United States and that he did not earn income.
On Thursday, November 2, 2006, Kent Hovind was convicted by jurors on 58 counts of tax fraud. He was accused of failing to pay $845,000 in employee taxes at CSE's Dinosaur Adventure Land. Jo Hovind, his wife, who wrote the checks and handled the money, was also convicted of 44 counts involving evading bank-reporting requirements. Both were pronounced guilty of all charges. Dr. Hovind faced a maximum of 288 years in prison, and was taken into custody after the jury pronounced him guilty. Jo Hovind faced up to 225 years in prison, but was allowed to go home after the couple's verdict.
Kent Hovind, who still disputes the government's right to make him pay taxes, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on federal tax charges on January 19, 2007. His wife, Jo, was convicted of evading bank-reporting requirements. She began serving a one-year sentence in January 2009 at a minimum security prison in Florida.
Hovind's biblical creation theme park, called Dinosaur Adventure Land, brought in more than $5 million from 1999 to March 2004 from park fees and merchandise sales, according to records presented at his 2006 trial. Hovind maintains that he took a vow of poverty as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, therefore he owns nothing and receives no income.
What Really Happened?
Creation Science Evangelism (CSE) began in January 1989, shortly after Kent Hovind and his family moved to Pensacola, FL. The outreach grew quickly and Kent Hovind was soon traveling to all 50 states and over 30 foreign countries. They produced videos and later DVDs of the creation seminar and allowed people to copy them freely to reach the world. Kent Hovind did over 100 debates with evolutionists, 20 of which are also available on DVD.
In 1999 CSE became part of Faith Baptist Fellowship and the 2 (at the time) properties were transferred into their name. In 2002 Pastor Mooneyhan was retiring and the board of elders voted to disband FBF. To prevent CSE from being “orphaned”, church ministry trusts were created and the property and bank accounts were put in these trusts to give Kent Hovind the freedom to travel and preach as he had been doing 700+ times a year.
Over the many years, Kent Hovind’s wife would withdraw money to pay ministry bills and compensate the people serving in the ministry. In 2002 this stopped. On July 13, 2006, with no warning or notice of any kind that there was or had been a problem, about 20 armed IRS agents swarmed onto the ministry property as Kent Hovind was preparing for staff devotions and his wife was sleeping. Four armed agents surrounded her bed and woke her up to handcuff her in her nightgown. She was not allowed to get dressed, put on a robe or go to the bathroom even though she begged for these simple courtesies.
They were taken to the Federal courthouse and indicted for “structuring”. They had no clue what that even was let alone that it was against some law or that they had broken it. They banked at the same bank and normally at the same teller for over 10 years. They learned later that laws had been passed years ago to try to slow or stop drug dealers from moving large amounts of cash. Any transfers over $10,000 would require the bank to fill out a form and notify the government. Although 4 times Kent Hovind’s wife did take out over $10,000, the bank filled out their form. No problem.
They had also made it illegal to “break down” a large sum into smaller amounts to “evade” this reporting requirement. For example: if you had $25,000 to deposit but broke it down into 3 deposits of less than $10,000 and made 3 deposits at the same or even different banks on the same day you could be found guilty of one count of “structuring” and sentenced to 5 years in prison! As it turns out, the IRS had cherry picked 45 times out of hundreds of transactions over the years that were under $10,000 and charged each one as a separate count of structuring even though they averaged 12 days apart (not same day), were not part of a large amount being “broken down”, were not from drugs or any other illegal trade and were not trying to evade anything. It was money donated or earned in legitimate ways and spent on legitimate ministry bills.
After a two week trial their attorneys advised them not to even give a defense since no laws had been broken and in America, in theory at least, you are innocent till proven guilty. It is not illegal to take any amount of money out of your own bank!
As Kent Hovind’s attorney was giving his closing argument he was reading the jury instruction verbatim that said the amount had to be over $10,000 in order to structure a transaction. The Assistant US Attorney stood up and objected to her own jury instruction! The judge took a 45 minute recess and returned with a new jury instruction that said if they found that Kent Hovind and his wife have taken out less than $10,000 then they must be found as guilty! Kent Hovind and his wife’s attorneys objected since this was not what the law said and changing jury instructions after trial is against the rules. The objections were overruled and they were found guilty. Kent Hovind was given 10 years and his wife a year and a day. She was released to a Half-Way House Oct. 1, and sent home in December 2009.
If this case is not overturned, anyone who takes any money out of their own bank will eventually be guilty of structuring. If you took $100 out each week for 100 weeks you would be guilty of 100 counts of structuring and could be given 500 years in prison!
To make matters worse, the government said all the money withdrawn in those 45 counts should be given to them – even though the government admitted that the money was used for legal purposes!
Kent Hovind’s attorneys objected since there were no drugs involved, the money was earned in legitimate ways and spent on ministry bills years ago. There was never a tax loss to the government. The fellow ministers at CSE testified that they had paid all taxes they owed. There were no damages and no one can figure out what this money was “owed” to the government for but the judge overruled the objections. So now, Kent Hovind was not only in prison, but he also owed $430,000!
When the government asked for permission to seize the CSE ministry property, the attorneys and the trustees objected and asked for a hearing or trial. This was denied and after letting the government’s motion sit on the desk for 7 ½ months, the judge ruled that Yes, they can seize CSE property to pay this “Debt”.
Extra Information - PRA
Paperwork Reduction Act – 1980 and 1995 44USC 3507-12 says all forms that request information must state 6 things (Reason for request, date of expiration, etc) and they all expire 3 years after OMB# is assigned.
All three forms: CIR, 940 & 941 forms that Kent Hovind is in prison for, were expired forms. The PRA says he cannot be penalized for not filling out a form that is expired yet he is still in prison. If the SC rules for them on this one it will not only free him and remove forfeiture but will help thousands of others currently in prison. The PRA can be raised as a complete defence at any time, even post convictions.
This case is one of the first to bring this issue before the SC since the 1995 PRA was passed. This issue is HUGE for many and will cause even the government to obey the law. The 11th circ. ignored this issue in their denial of his appeal. Just the PRA alone will remove 57 of the 58 counts Kent Hovind is in prison for. Count 58 was for “threatening” an IRS agent in the “DUE administration” of his duty. When he was asked during trial how Kent Hovind threatened him, he said it was when he prayed for him in his daily radio program! Kent Hovind got 3 years for that!
- Creationism theme park caught in tax dispute A federal judge has cleared the way for the government’s seizure of a creationism theme park in Pensacola. WorldNetDaily. August 07, 2009
- 'Government persecuting' jailed creation evangelist Kent Hovind built celebrated anti-evolution ministry, now serving 10-year prison sentence on tax charges. WorldNetDaily, May 31, 2009.
- Creationist 'employed by God' charged with tax fraud While facing 58 counts of tax fraud, Kent Hovind asserts he has no income or property because everything belongs to God. WorldNetDaily, July 26, 2006.
- Pensacola evangelist convicted of tax fraud Jurors convicted Kent Hovind on 58 counts of tax fraud. Tampa Bay's Ten, 2006.
- In re Hovind, 197 BR 157 - Bankr. Court, ND Florida 1996
- See www.penaltyprotestor.com for lots more on the PRA.
- Creation Science Evangelism Kent Hovind's ministry website
- Videos - Creation Science Evangelism - Kent Hovind - Eric Hovind - free materials to download
- CSE Blogs
- Kent Hovind's legal battles @ FreeHovind.com
- Kent Hovind - Creation Science Hall of Fame