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Kent Hovind

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Kent Hovind
Kent Hovind mug shot.jpg
Born Kent E. Hovind
(1953-01-15) January 15, 1953 (age 62)
Nationality American
Occupation Evangelist, Christian theme park operator
Known for Advocate of Young Earth creationism, convicted of tax-related crimes
Criminal charge
Willful failure to pay taxes, Structuring, Obstruction of Justice
Criminal penalty
10 years imprisonment and 3 years probation
Criminal status Incarcerated at Santa Rosa County Jail in Milton, FL ; scheduled date of release: August 10, 2015
Spouse(s) Jo Delia Hovind
Children Kent Andrew Hovind
Eric Hovind
Marlissa Dublin
Conviction(s) November 2, 2006

Kent E. Hovind (born January 15, 1953) is an American Young Earth creationist and conspiracy theorist. Hovind has spoken on creation science, aiming to convince listeners to reject scientific theories of evolution, geophysics, and cosmology in favor of his interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative from the Bible. Hovind's views are contradicted by scientific evidence and some of his ideas have also been criticized by fellow Young Earth creationist organizations such as Answers in Genesis.

Hovind established Creation Science Evangelism in 1989, and frequently spoke on Young Earth creationism in private schools, churches, debates, and on radio and television broadcasts. Since January 2007, Hovind has been serving a ten-year prison sentence after being convicted in federal court of 58 counts, including 12 tax offenses, one count of obstructing federal agents, and 45 counts of structuring cash transactions. In a separate federal court case in early 2015, Hovind was found guilty of contempt of court.

Biography

At the age of 16, Hovind became a born-again Christian[1] within the Independent Fundamental Baptist church.[2] In 1989, he moved to Pensacola, Florida[3] with his wife. Hovind has three adult children and five grandchildren.

Between 1975 and 1988, Hovind served as an assistant pastor and teacher at three private Baptist schools, including one he started.[1] In 1989, Hovind started Creation Science Evangelism. In 1998, Hovind created his Dr. Dino web site and began producing articles and selling video tapes, books, and fossil replicas.[4] Prior to being convicted, Hovind spoke at churches, private schools, and other venues each year, in addition to hosting a daily internet radio talk show and establishing Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, Florida.

In 1999, his son Eric Hovind began traveling to present his arguments and seminars.[5][6]

Education

Patriot University

In 1971, he graduated from East Peoria Community High School in East Peoria, Illinois, and later received 4 degrees, all from unaccredited institutions. From 1972 to 1974, Hovind attended the Midwestern Baptist College and received a Bachelor of Religious Education.[1] In 1988 and 1991 respectively, Hovind received a master's degree and doctorate in Christian Education through correspondence from the Patriot University in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[notes 1][7] Having a website called "Dr. Dino" has provoked some academics to look closely at how Hovind presents his education and credentials. Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy, expert on the history of creationism and activist in the creation-evolution controversy, wrote that Hovind's lack of academic training makes it impossible to engage him on a professional level.[8]

Patriot Bible University is a diploma mill, having unreasonably low graduation requirements, lack of sufficient faculty or educational standards, and a suspicious tuition scheme.[9][10] The school's current policies allow students to attain bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and Doctor of Ministry degrees in months, rather than years, for as little as $37 per credit.[11][12]

Karen Bartelt, an organic chemistry professor who debated Hovind,[8] stated that his doctoral dissertation is evidence of the poor requirements at Patriot and that Hovind lacks knowledge of basic science. She noted that Hovind's dissertation is incomplete,[notes 2] of low academic quality, with poor writing, poor spelling, and poor grammatical style. Bartelt asserts that pages are repeated, references are absent, and it is not an original work with original ideas.[13]

In 2010, Patriot responded to Wikileaks' claim to have revealed Hovind's dissertation, writing that the Wikileaks file was not the "finished" product, but that they would not release the full dissertation,[14] which is unusual among academic institutions. As a general rule, doctoral dissertations are published by the associated university and made available to the public, so that other students conducting research may reference them.[13]

Creation Science Evangelism and Creation Today

Hovind began Creation Science Evangelism in 1989 to evangelize and teach creationism.[4] During his 2006 criminal trial, the federal government said the organization did not have the proper licensing nor was it registered as a nonprofit, which resulted in legal troubles. In May 1999, Eric Hovind joined Creation Science Evangelism, and Marlissa Hovind began training to become Kent Hovind's secretary.[6]

In January 2007, Kent Hovind was convicted of 58 felonies, and sentenced to ten years in prison, leading Eric Hovind to announce that he would take over Creation Science Evangelism.[15] After finishing high school at Pensacola Christian Academy in 1996,[16] Eric attended Jackson Hole Bible College[17] a one-year[18] non-accredited institution,[19][20] despite Kent Hovind's objections to Jackson Hole's Gap creationism and Day-age creationism teaching.[21] In July 2007, God Quest Inc. was incorporated with Eric Hovind as president,[22] and that November, God Quest Inc. filed in Florida to do business under the trade name Creation Science Evangelism.[23] In June 2008, Eric announced that the CSE website would incorporate the CSE blog and change format allowing for "only positive comments" about Hovind and CSE,[24] and in late 2011, Creation Science Evangelism's DrDino.com website was redirected to CreationToday.org.[25][26] The new website announced "Creation Today is a ministry of God Quest, Inc." with focus on "creation, apologetics and evangelism."[27]

In March 2012, the federal government sued Creation Science Evangelism to remove liens placed on Kent Hovind's former property that was seized after his conviction,[28] and in June, the court ruled in favor of the government.[28] Then in May 2013, Hovind filed several lis pendens as notices of liens.[29] In October 2013, a federal judge found "the lis pendens were null and void ab initio",[30] and in 2014, a federal grand jury indicted Hovind for mail fraud and contempt of court in connection with filing the lis pendens.

Dinosaur Adventure Land

Entrance to the park

In 2001, Hovind started Dinosaur Adventure Land (DAL), a Young Earth creationist theme park located behind Hovind's home in Pensacola, Florida. The park depicts humans and dinosaurs co-existing in the last 4,000–6,000 years and also contains a depiction of the Loch Ness monster.[31] Dinosaurs are central to Hovind's website and creation advocacy because "the creation world view says dinosaurs have always lived with man and there might still be a few alive today."[32] A 2004 Skeptical Inquirer article discussed a visit to Hovind's dinosaur theme park and concluded that the park is "deceptive on many levels".[33] The Southern Poverty Law Center said the park also "claims that a few small dinosaurs still roam the planet."[34] George Allan Alderman described it as "essentially a playground with a few exhibits, several fiberglass dinosaurs, a climbing wall, and a couple of buildings."[35] He summarized it as "shabby", adding "The dinosaurs looked shabby, the displays were shabby, the attractions and activities were shabby, and above all the ideas were shabby."[35]

The venture has encountered legal issues, as the owners failed to acquire a building permit for the park (see below). In 2008 Eric Hovind and Glen Stoll, an individual who has been associated with the Embassy of Heaven organization and who has falsely claimed to be a lawyer,[36] attempted to prevent the forfeitures of Hovind's ten properties, including Dinosaur Adventure Land, in connection with Kent Hovind's federal tax problems.[37] The government sought the property, deeded to Stoll and Eric prior to Hovind's convictions, since cash that Hovind withdrew from his bank accounts cannot be recovered. In July 2009, the courts ruled that the properties could be seized and sold to satisfy Hovind's federal tax debts.[38] In August 2009, Dinosaur Adventure Land's website announced it was closed,[39] and CSE announced its re-opening as the "Creation Store" in November 2010.[40]

Earnings and assets

Property on Dinosaur Adventure Land

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Hovind earned $50,000 a year through speaking engagements, and in 2002 alone, CSE sold more than $1.8 million in merchandise.[41] Hovind's theme park revenues and merchandise sales revenues amounted to more than US$5 million from 1999 to March 2004.[42] On average, Hovind made bank deposits in excess of $1 million each year,[43] and eventually that grew to about $2 million a year.[44][45] About half that income went to employees who were salaried or were paid hourly wages. However, Hovind derived "substantial revenue" from these activities that appeared to be "income to [him] personally."[46]

Prior to his prison term, Kent Hovind also owned at least 10 properties, including Dinosaur Adventure Land.[47] As of 2009, the government was seizing the property for money owed.[48] In a court filing, however, Eric Hovind said that he owned one of the properties and that he "took active control over the lot by personally building a home on it with $70,000 he borrowed from CSE."[49] The court accepted Eric's ownership of that property, but allowed the government to seize the other nine properties.[49] In 2013, Kent Hovind filed liens on the property seized. A federal judge rejected Hovind's claims and dismissed the filings,[50] and asked for a "show of cause" from Hovind to explain why he should not be found in contempt of court for the false filings.[50]

Also in 2013, Eric Hovind's Creation Today was deeded two homes on Oleander Street in Pensacola by the estate of Samuel Bowen for $10.[51]

Creationism

Kent presented a version of Young Earth creationism he calls the "Hovind Theory" at lectures and in his book "Unmasking the False Religion of Evolution".[52][53] The Hovind Theory is entirely rejected in the scientific community, and its plausibility has been criticized by other Young Earth creationists.[54][55][56]

According to the Hovind Theory, Noah's family and two of every kind of animal (including dinosaurs)[57] boarded Noah's ark before an ice meteor impacted the Earth. Fragments from the meteor caused Planetary rings on nearby planets, as well as impact craters on the moon, and the remainder were drawn to the North and South Poles by the Earth's magnetic field.

Hovind claims that snowfall buried the mammoths standing up,[53] and ice on the poles cracked the Earth's crust, releasing the "fountains of the deep". According to Hovind, these events caused an Ice age, and made the Earth "wobble around", collapsing the vapor canopy that protected it.

Hovind believes that the next few months of the flood, the dead animals and plants were buried, and became oil, coal, and fossils.[58] The last months of the flood included geological instability, when the plates shifted, forming ocean basins and mountain ranges. Hovind states that the Grand Canyon was formed in a couple of weeks during this time[59] due to erosion from the floodwaters receding. After a few hundred years, Hovind claims the ice caps melted and the ocean levels increased, creating the continental shelves, and the deeper oceans absorbed carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere allowing greater amounts of radiation to reach the Earth's surface. As a result, Hovind believes human lifespans were shortened considerably in the days of Peleg.

Hovind has stated that carbon dating – a method used by scientists to estimate the age of various objects and events – is unreliable,[60] which garnered criticism from Greg Neyman, a creationist from Answers in Creation, who says that in Hovind's statements "show that he knows absolutely nothing about the science of Carbon Dating."[61] Neyman says that Hovind's claim that "scientists assume the amount of carbon-14 is constant" is wrong, and Neyman writes "there are many periods of decreasing C-14, which disproves his theory that the Earth is young based on C-14 equilibrium."[61]

Hovind's ideas have been published in the controversial Chick Tracts, comic strips intended to convert people to fundamentalist Christianity.[62][63]

Criticism from creationists

Hovind has been criticized by other creationists who believe that his arguments are incorrect and undermine their causes. For instance, in 2002 and 2006, Carl Wieland and Jonathan Sarfati wrote that the claims made by Hovind are "fraudulent" and contain "mistakes in facts and logic which do the creationist cause no good."[64][65]

Disagreements over how to respond to Hovind's claims have themselves contributed to acrimony between creationist organizations. Answers in Genesis was critical of Hovind[64] after he responded to a position document from Creation Ministries International, "Arguments we think creationists should NOT use".[66][67][68] In particular, AiG criticized Hovind for "persistently us[ing] discredited or false arguments"[69] as well as "fraudulent claims" from Ron Wyatt,[64] and said Hovind's claims were "self-refuting".[70]

Disagreements over Hovind contributed to AiG splitting into U.S. and Australian chapters in 2005. The Australian branch, renamed Creation Ministries International, maintained content critical of Hovind on their website, while the U.S. branch, led by Ken Ham, removed it.[71]

In September through October 2000, Hugh Ross debated Hovind on the age of the Earth during the John Ankerberg Show, televised nationally on the Inspiration Network.[72][73] Ross said Hovind was "misrepresenting the field" of different sciences,[74] and Ross told Hovind: "Astronomers view the credibility of the 'Young Earth' as being much weaker than that for a flat Earth."[75]

Criticism from non-creationists

While Hovind campaigns against evolution, the level of support for evolution is essentially universal within the scientific community and academia,[76] while support for creationism is minimal among scientists in general, and virtually nonexistent among those in the relevant fields: biology, paleontology, geology, etc.[77]

Prior to his convictions, Hovind was a prolific debater. In May 2004, Michael Shermer debated Hovind in front of a predominantly creationist audience. Shermer claimed the exchange was "not an intellectual exercise", but rather "an emotional drama,"[78] and concluded, "Unless there is a subject that is truly debatable with a format that is fair, in a forum that is balanced, it only serves to belittle both the magisterium of science and the magisterium of religion."[78] Massimo Pigliucci also debated Hovind, and expressed surprise at Hovind's ignorance of evolutionary theory.[79] Pigliucci recalled Hovind try "to convince the audience that evolutionists believe humans came from rocks" and subsequently "evolved from bananas."[79] According to Karen Bartelt, Hovind's "message appeals to those who are unaware that his 'evidence' is without merit."[80] William Reville, Director of Microscopy at University College Cork, wrote that Hovind's ideas are not rational or scientific because they are not testable.[81]

$250,000 offer

In 1990, Hovind made a $10,000 offer to anyone who could meet a set of requirements he said would prove evolution,[82] and he later raised the amount to $250,000.[83] In 2007, Creation Science Evangelism removed the offer from its website."[84]

I have a standing offer of $250,000 to anyone who can give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution.* My $250,000 offer demonstrates that the hypothesis of evolution is nothing more than a religious belief.[83]
*NOTE: When I use the word evolution, I am not referring to the minor variations found in all of the various life forms (microevolution). I am referring to the general theory of evolution which believes these five major events took place without God:

1. Time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves.
2. Planets and stars formed from space dust.
3. Matter created life by itself.
4. Early life-forms learned to reproduce themselves.
5. Major changes occurred between these diverse life forms (i.e., fish changed to amphibians, amphibians changed to reptiles, and reptiles changed to birds or mammals).

The premises of Hovind's offer have been rejected both by scientists and fellow creationists as fundamentally flawed.[69][85] Hovind's conditions would require a claimant to not only prove the theory of evolution, but also abiogenesis, astrophysics and cosmology, and additionally prove that no gods could possibly exist.[85] Hovind has repeatedly declined written debates where his claims would be scrutinized by scientists, for example, when offered by Dave Thomas.[86]

Hovind said a panel of judges would decide if a claim had met his criteria, but he refused to say who would be on that panel. Additionally, Hovind has claimed to filter out responses that are unconvincing to him, before forwarding them to the panel.[85][87] Challengers who have submitted claims to Hovind say they have become convinced that he does not actually use a panel of judges, in spite of his promise to do so.[88]

In 2001, Massimo Pigliucci attempted to collect Hovind's prize.[89] During a debate with Hovind, Pigliucci said Hovind did not send any details or names of scientists judging the evidence and Hovind "could have decided on his own" to dismiss the evidence.[90] Pigliucci later issued a "counter-challenge" as "a spoof meant to uncover Hovind's challenge for the gimmick that it is" by asking for "empirical evidence that Christianity is the only true religion and that a god with the exact characteristics of the one(s) described in the bible actually exists".[91]

Controversial remarks

Politics and conspiracies

Hovind has made controversial remarks regarding conspiracies, science, creation, equal rights, religion, and government. His presentations on creation and evolution are a mix of Christian Fundamentalism and conspiracy theories.[78] His creationist presentations have asserted that creationism is not taught in public schools due to a New World Order conspiracy" involving Ted Turner and Jane Fonda, the British Royal Family, the State of Israel, the American Civil Liberties Union, US government officials, business leaders, and social activists.[92] In May 1999, he claimed "the implementation of the NWO's world-domination plan was May 5, 2000."[92]

Hovind has several conspiracy theories about the U.S. government. He claims that the cyanide-releasing compound laetrile is a "cancer cure" and argues that the US government is conspiring to suppress a cure for cancer.[33][93] On his radio program, he has claimed that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks, killing nearly 3,000 people and that a "lot of folks were told not to come to work."[94] He also claims the Oklahoma City bombing was carried out by the government.[95] Regarding UFOs, Hovind recommends books by conspiracy theorists who believe "some UFO's are U.S. Government experiments with electrogravitic propulsion as opposed to jet propulsion, while others are Satanic apparitions."[96][97] Additionally, Hovind claims that the Federal Reserve, the Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations, and various other groups are planning to create a one world government and that the 1993 World Trade Center attack was staged by the US Government in order to pass "anti-terrorism" legislation that restricts civil liberties.[98] He also claims there is no such thing as the separation of church and state,[99] and opposes public schools.[100] Hovind has also alleged that there is a conspiracy surrounding taxes, the New World Order, and communism, while he promotes tax protesting.[98][101] Hovind wrote, "Although it is tempting for me to go off on a tangent from my creation ministry and spend much time warning people of the communist origin (Karl Marx thought it up in 1848 and pro communists Colonel E. House, Roosevelt, Rockefeller and Sen. Nelson Aldrich implemented it in 1913.) and unconstitutional nature (it violates the 4th, 5th, 13th and 14th amendments) of the current tax system, I will resist that temptation and leave it to others to fight that battle."[101]

Hovind further offered information and resources for people to avoid paying taxes by claiming to not be residents of the United States.[101] The SPLC criticized Hovind for referring followers to books by tax protester Irwin Schiff,[102] who has been convicted of tax evasion multiple times.[103]

As part of his "one world government" conspiracy theory, Hovind claimed that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), HIV, West Nile virus, Gulf war syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Wegener's disease, Parkinson's disease, Crohn's colitis, Type I diabetes, and collagen-vascular diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer's were all engineered by "the money masters and governments of the world" for the purpose of global economic domination.[104] Hovind claims "Satan has been using the great pyramid as his symbol for the New World Order"[105] and that "the Great Pyramid could have been built by Adam's relatives".[97] He claims that the United States government is secretly plotting to implant an "electronic ID" microchip in the body of every US citizen, which is the Mark of the Beast.[106][107]

Hovind claims that there is a government plot to add barcodes with a magnetic strip to dollar bills in order to track money.[108] Hovind is opposed to democracy,[109] saying: "democracy is evil and contrary to God's law".[110][111] At Kent State University, Hovind said "You should have another rebellion here at Kent State and do it for the right reason," but "This time, don't get shot."[112]

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has criticized Hovind for "point[ing] his followers to Citizens Rule Book, popular among antigovernment 'Patriots', and to Media Bypass, an antigovernment magazine with strong antisemitic leanings",[102] and for selling of books such as Des Griffin's Fourth Reich of the Rich and Peter Kershaw's In Caesar's Grip, and recommending The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a well-known antisemitic hoax.[110] Hovind responded: "I love the Jews. But The Protocols of Zion [sic] was written to explain how to control the world, I mean, it lays it all out. But it’s really carefully done so that if it is ever discovered the Jews take the blame for it."[59]

Hovind accuses Darwinism of having produced "Communism, Socialism, Nazism, abortion, liberalism and the New Age Movement".[110][112] He blamed the forced Cherokee resettlement on a belief in evolution, although the Trail of Tears preceded Origin of Species by roughly two decades.[10]

Science

Hovind believes all findings of science will eventually be found to agree with Scripture – which he says is a priori known to be true.[108][113] He claims that scientists also have an a priori assumption that God does not exist.[114]

Hovind maintains that biology textbooks are lying and that he considers evolution to be a religion[115] used to brainwash youth. He claims, "Satan is using evolution theory to make kids go to hell."[116] Hovind claims he is not trying to eliminate evolution from schools,[117] but says "schools should teach both viewpoints."[116] He has claimed that everything is a religion, including mathematics.[118] Hovind disregards all fossil evidence,[119] and believes different races, originated from the Tower of Babel.[120] In 2000, he alleged "global warming is a communist conspiracy."[97]

During a debate with Farrell Till, Hovind said that Donald Johanson "found the leg bones of Lucy a mile and a half away from the head bones. The leg bones were 200 feet deeper in a deeper layer of strata. I would like to know how fast the train was going that hit that chimpanzee."[121] This was clearly contrary to the published statements by Johanson. After Hovind had been informed in 1993 that his statement was false, he agreed to stop using the claim but continued to make the statement. When he was again corrected in 1995, he agreed that he was in error, promised not to repeat the claim, and said he would remove it from his audio tapes.[122]

Hovind was criticized for his involvement with Arkansas state Representative Jim Holt's Anti-Evolution Bill in 2001 (House Bill 2548).[123][124] This bill "would have required that when public schools refer to evolution that it be identified as an unproven theory." Some politicians said this bill "would have made Arkansas a laughingstock."[125] Holt called upon Hovind as an expert who "testified for Holt before the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, alleging much of the information pertaining to evolution in our science textbooks is false."[123]

YouTube copyright controversy

Kent Hovind/Creation Science Evangelism copyright policy prior to September 2007

On September 16, 2007, the Rational Response Squad complained that Creation Science Evangelism was filing spurious DMCA requests, resulting in their YouTube videos being taken down, and their account banned.[126] In response to the copyright claims, the RRS threatened to sue CSE and/or Eric Hovind.[127][128]

At the time of the complaints, the CSE's website indicated the videos were not copyrighted, and the CSE encouraged copying and distributing them.[126] Five days later, the CSE copyright page was changed to say that copied material must be left unedited.[129] According to a spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, CSE's claim was "clearly bogus",[130] and as of September 25, 2007, the Rational Response Squad account had been reinstated, and some of the videos had been put back online.[130]

Legal problems

Property taxes and zoning ordinance

On September 13, 2002, Hovind was charged with failure to observe county zoning regulations for Dinosaur Adventure Land, a misdemeanor.[33] Hovind argued he did not need a permit due to the nature of the building, but after a 5-year court battle over the $50 building permit, on June 5, 2006, Hovind pled nolo contendere as charged to three counts: constructing a building without a permit, refusing to sign a citation,[131] and violating the county building code.[132][133]

Hovind was ordered to pay $225 per count. Hovind estimated he spent $40,000 in legal expenses on the case,[134] but in a 2002 CSE newsletter, Hovind requested donations, stating that the costs approached $100,000.[135]

Federal civil tax matters, bankruptcy, and renouncing citizenship (1996–2006)

Hovind was originally reported to the IRS by Pensacola Christian College senior vice president Rebekah Horton in the mid 1990s, after she learned of Hovind's anti-tax stand.[136] Hovind's businesses had neither business licenses nor tax-exempt status,[137] nor was it considered a church by people who worked there.[138][139] The ministry's organizational structure was described by the United States Tax Court as appearing to be "based on various questionable trust documents purchased from Glen Stoll, a known promoter of tax avoidance schemes",[46] leading the Court to conclude that Hovind used these trust documents as well as other fraudulent means to conceal the ownership and control of his activities and properties.[46]

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.[140] He claimed that as a minister, everything he owned belonged to God and he was not subject to paying taxes for doing God's work.[141] On June 5, 1996, the Court dismissed Hovind's bankruptcy case,[142] finding he had lied about his possessions and income.[143] The court upheld the IRS's determination that his claim "was filed in bad faith for the sole purpose of avoiding payment of federal income taxes" and called Hovind's arguments "patently absurd". It also said that "the IRS has no record of the debtor ever having filed a federal income tax return."

On May 13, 1998, Hovind and his wife filed a "Power of Attorney and Revocation of Signature" document in Escambia County which would nullify any of their promises, debts, or legal agreements made prior to April 15, 1998. The Hovinds claimed they had signed government documents "due to the use of various elements of fraud and misrepresentations, duress, coercion, under perjury, mistake, 'bankruptcy',"[144] and argued that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme". The document referred to the United States Government as "the 'bankrupt' corporate government", renounced the Hovinds' United States citizenship and Social Security numbers to become "a natural citizen of 'America' and a natural sojourner", and referred to their home state of Florida as "the State of Florida Body-Politic Corporation."[144] Judges and the IRS did not appear to honor this as a legally relevant document in future decisions.[145]

In 2002, Hovind was again delinquent in paying his taxes, and unsuccessfully sued the IRS for harassment.[145] In 2003, Hovind said, "I haven't filed a tax return in 30 years."[146]

In Spring 2004, the IRS conducted an audit and criminal investigation regarding Hovind's unfiled personal Federal income tax for 1995–1997.[46] IRS agent Scott Schneider said, "Since 1997, Hovind has engaged in financial transactions indicating sources of income and has made deposits to bank accounts well in excess of $1 million per year during some of these years, which would require the filing of federal income taxes."[137] On June 3, 2004, the IRS executed a search warrant on Hovind's home and businesses to confiscate financial records and attempt to deliver notices of Federal tax liens of $504,957.24, which Hovind refused to accept.[46][147][148] Agents confiscated $42,000 in cash found in various places in the residence. More than a half-dozen guns were present, including an SKS semiautomatic rifle.[149] That day, Hovind withdrew $70,000 from the CSE bank account, half in cash.[150]

On July 7, 2006, the United States Tax Court found that Hovind was deficient in paying his federal income taxes in 1995–1997, totaling $520,099.[46] The Tax Court ruled that the IRS had a valid, perfected lien on Hovind's property and said that Hovind's defense was based on "bizarre arguments", "some of which constitute tax protester arguments involving excise taxes and the alleged '100% voluntary' nature of the income tax."[46] With penalties, he owed $3.3 million for tax years 1998–2006 by 2013.[151][152]

Federal criminal tax-related trial and convictions in 2006

On July 11, 2006, Hovind was indicted on 58 counts in the District Court in Northern Florida in Pensacola. Twelve counts were willful failure to collect, account for, and pay over federal income taxes and FICA taxes, totaling $473,818. Forty-five counts were knowingly structuring transactions by making multiple cash withdrawals totaling $430,500 in amounts just under the $10,000 which requires reporting (a technique known as "smurfing"), for which his wife was also charged. The last count was corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the administration of the internal revenue laws by falsely listing the IRS as his only creditor when filing for bankruptcy, filing a false and frivolous lawsuit against the IRS in which he demanded damages for criminal trespass, making threats of harm to those investigating him and to those who might consider cooperating with the investigation, filing a false complaint against IRS agents investigating him, filing a false criminal complaint against IRS special agents (criminal investigators), and destroying records.[153][154][155] During trial, the Pensacola News Journal labeled Kent Hovind a tax protester.[156]

At arraignment, Hovind claimed incomprehension to the charges, telling the court: "I still don't understand what I'm being charged for and who is charging me."[154] Magistrate Miles Davis asked Hovind if he wrote and spoke English, to which Hovind responded, "To some degree." Davis replied that the government adequately explained the allegations and the defendant understands the charges "whether you want to admit it or not."[157] Hovind stated that he did not recognize the government's right to try him on tax-fraud charges. At first he attempted to enter a plea of "subornation of false muster," but then entered a not guilty plea "under duress" when the judge offered to enter a plea for him.[145]

At the time of the arrest Hovind's passport and guns were seized. Hovind protested, arguing that he needed his passport to continue his evangelism work, and that "thousands and thousands" were waiting to hear him preach in South Africa the following month. The court refused to reconsider, accepting the argument that "like-minded people" might secret Hovind away if he left the country.[154] Because of reports of weapons on the Hovind property, the indictment was originally sealed for fear of danger to the arresting agents.[158]

At the time of the indictment, Hovind's defense appeared to be that although there were 30 people working for him, all of whom received remuneration in cash, none of them were employees. According to Hovind, "Nobody's an employee, and they all know that when they come. They come, they work … The laborer is worthy of his hire – we try to take the purely scriptural approach. We do the best we can with helping people with their family needs. There are no employees here."[159] Hovind had also claimed that he was not liable for taxes that he and his ministry did not have to "render unto Caesar" because his workers are "missionaries", not "employees".[160] Evidence produced at the trial revealed that Jo Hovind had requested financial assistance from Baptist Healthcare claiming that the Hovinds had no income.[156]

On October 21, 2006, the trial began in which he hoped to convince a jury that his amusement park admission and merchandise sales belonged to God and cannot be taxed.[42] Former and current workers, IRS agents, a bank employee, and a lawyer of a non-profit Christian organization testified in the trial. The IRS agents told the court how Hovind attempted "bullying tactics" and sued the government three times, which were thrown out, to pressure them to stop investigating.[42] Several people who worked for Hovind testified that they had to punch time cards, and had vacation and sick days, while others testified that Hovind claimed he had "beat" the tax system.[161] During the trial, the judge "admonished" Hovind's attorney for wasting time and asking irrelevant questions.[162]

The trial concluded on November 1 with the defense deciding not to present a case.[163] After closing arguments were presented on November 2, the jury deliberated three hours before finding the Hovinds guilty on all counts, 58 for Hovind and 44 for his wife.[150] The Pensacola News Journal said, "The saddest thing: Had they cooperated with the agents, they probably wouldn't be worrying about prison sentences now."[164]

Sentencing, appeals, and imprisonment (2007–present)

On January 19, 2007, Hovind was sentenced to ten years in prison with three years probation and ordered to pay the federal government restitution of over $600,000. During the sentencing phase, a tearful Hovind, hoping to avoid prison, told the court, "If it's just money the IRS wants, there are thousands of people out there who will help pay the money they want so I can go back out there and preach."[165] However, Hovind's court room behavior was in stark contrast to phone calls he made while in jail and played by the prosecution.[166] The tapes, posted online by the Pensacola News Journal, included one conversation with Kent and his son, Eric Hovind, planning to hide a motor vehicle title and property deeds to prevent the government from collecting the property to pay for owed debt.[167]

After the convictions, Hovind was incarcerated in the Escambia County Jail as a "danger to the community" and a flight risk.[168] Following his sentencing in January 2007, Hovind was incarcerated at the Federal Prison Camp, Pensacola (minimum security), at Saufley Field, Pensacola, Florida, and was later moved to the Federal Correctional Institution, Marianna (medium security), at Marianna, Florida.[169] In May 2007, he was listed as being an "administrative security level" inmate at Federal Correctional Institution, Tallahassee, in Tallahassee, Florida, and the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Atlanta, Georgia, until being placed at Federal Correctional Institution, Edgefield, in South Carolina.[169] In August 2010, he was placed at United States Penitentiary, Atlanta;[170] in September he was moved to Federal Correctional Institution, Jesup.[171] In June 2011, he was moved back to Federal Correctional Institution, Tallahassee[172] then to the FPC Satellite Camp[173] (minimum security) under the administration of ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado.[174] In October 2012, he was transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution, Berlin in New Hampshire[175] and in May 2014, he was moved to Federal Prison Camp, Montgomery in Alabama,[176] where he got into trouble for passing material to other inmates according to Eric Hovind.[177] In late May 2014, Hovind was then transferred to United States Penitentiary, Atlanta.[178]

On June 29, 2007, Jo Hovind was sentenced to one year of imprisonment, three years of supervision upon release and fined $8,000.[179] In court, Jo Hovind told the judge "I really did not have a leadership role in CSE" and finished "I would never knowingly do anything illegal." The prosecutor said that Jo Hovind's statement contradicted the evidence, stating, "I do not believe she's being truthful to the court". The judge stated that "Mrs. Hovind was in charge of the payroll," and that while "Mr. Hovind was the decision-making authority" at CSE and Dinosaur Adventure Land, Jo Hovind had cashed some 200 checks, all under $10,000, for a total of $1.5 million during a four-year period.[47]

Hovind appealed the amount of his 2006 U.S. Tax Court ruling on personal income taxes to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit," but on July 2, 2007, a three-judge panel denied the appeal, finding that Hovind had failed raise the issue at the appropriate time.[180]

Dinosaur Adventure Land billboard

In 2007, the government placed liens on ten of the Hovinds' properties for money owed.[47] This action stemmed from the June 27, 2007, judgment, which included an order that the properties be forfeited under 18 U.S.C. § 3613 for costs of $5,800, a fine of $2000, and restitution of $604,874.87.[181] On December 30, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied the Hovinds' appeal and affirmed the convictions and sentences entered by the district court.[182][183] Jo Hovind began serving her prison term on January 20, 2009,[184] until being released on December 3, 2009.[185]

The court ruling denying the Hovinds' appeal cleared the way for forfeiture proceedings on Hovind-owned properties, including those on which Dinosaur Adventure Land sat, to continue[186] to satisfy the debt.[187] Eric Hovind kept the park and CSE operating throughout 2008,[188] but in July 2009, a judge allowed the government seizure to proceed.[189]

On November 30, 2010, Kent Hovind filed a motion in U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida claiming the prosecution and defense erred at various stages of the case.[190] All of Hovind's motions, including dismissal of the indictment, were denied by the court in 2011.[191] Court documents filed May 15, 2013, revealed that the financial restitution portion of Kent Hovind's conviction totaled "more than $3.3 million in taxes and penalties" which he has been ordered to repay.[192]

Since his 2007 incarceration, Hovind has filed several lawsuits and petitions in multiple courts, including ones against the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, his trial judge and federal district court.[193] In August 2013, Hovind wrote he has lost every appeal in six years and filed six new legal "battles," signing under his name with "POW."[194]

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Kent Hovind is scheduled for release from prison on August 10, 2015.[195]

Federal mail fraud and criminal contempt trial in 2015

On October 21, 2014, Hovind was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pensacola, Florida, on two counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy with Paul John Hansen to commit mail fraud, and one count of criminal contempt for[196] interfering with the sale of Pensacola properties Hovind was forced to forfeit as a result of the 2006 case."[197] Hovind and Hansen plead not guilty and were tried together.[198][199]

On March 2, 2015, the trial began in U.S. District Court for Northern Florida. On the first day of testimony, the prosecution discussed Hovind and Hansen's "dozens of filings," including several lis pendens, used to resist a court-ordered forfeiture due in part to legal advice Hovind took from his "cellmate in a New Hampshire prison camp."[200] The prosecution presented audio of Hovind asking his daughter, "Have you ever taken a step into dog crap and it gets stuck on your feet and it's really hard to get off?" and said "That's what a lis pendes [sic] is."[200] Journalist Kevin Robinson reported, "Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany Eggers presented a lengthy paper trail of emails, recorded phone calls, court filings and other media to demonstrate the defendants’ continued jostling for the property."[201] Hansen and Hovind took the stand in their own defense. According to Robinson, during Hovind's testimony, he "refused to give short answers" and "said he believed all of his actions were lawful and that he had never conspired with Hansen to commit any dishonest act."[202] On March 12, 2015, Hovind was found guilty of criminal contempt and jury was hung on the remaining charges. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 12, 2015.[203] A trial on the counts on which the jury could not reach a verdict has been ordered to begin on May 18, 2015.[204]

Notes

  1. ^ Now Patriot Bible University in Del Norte, Colorado, which no longer offers this program
  2. ^ it contains four chapters totaling 101 pages, but Hovind's introduction claims the work is 250 pages with 16 chapters

References

  1. ^ a b c Search "Kent Hovind" in Escambia County Florida Clerk of the Circuit Court for Instrument 2005406964, Affidavit 08/10/2005, also available online at Kent Hovind 2005 Affidavit.
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  3. ^ "About CSE". DrDino.com (archived). 1999. Archived from the original on 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  4. ^ a b Jo Delia Hovind v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue; T.C. Memo. 2012-281; October 3, 2012; also available online at Jo Hovind v Commissioner of Internal Revenue (2012 Order).
  5. ^ Hovind, Eric (April 2, 2007). "Trip to Canada and Debate". DrDino.com (archived). Archived from the original on 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  6. ^ a b Kent Hovind wrote his son, Eric, "joined our CSE staff May 10th. He is taking my seminar to schools and churches and has quite a few meetings scheduled already."Hovind, Kent (1999). "The Every-Once-in-a-While Newsletter". DrDino.com (archived). Archived from the original on 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
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  134. ^ Hovind provides this estimate in a Demand to Dismiss in the case, which was made available through the now defunct website www.richardsayshome.com; See: "Hovind File Listing". www.richardsayshome.com (archived). 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-04-28. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  135. ^ Meyers, Stephen (2008). "Kent Hovind Newsletter 3/1/02". Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  136. ^ Fail, Angela (October 20, 2006). "Christian College leader says taxes are part of religion: Hovind argues God's workers are exempt". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  137. ^ a b "Biblical theme park's finances investigated". Saint Petersburg Times. Associated Press. April 18, 2004. Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  138. ^ Sowder, Amy (October 19, 2006). "Workers testify in 'Dr. Dino' trial". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  139. ^ Fail, Angela (October 18, 2006). "Evangelist's trial begins: Dinosaur Adventure Land owner, wife face 58 counts of tax fraud". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  140. ^ In re Hovind, case no. 96-04256, U.S. Bankr. Court for the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola Div.), 197 B.R. 157 (Bankr. N.D. Fla. 1996), at [1].
  141. ^ Drach, Mike (December 15, 2005). "Screw the Taxman: The Weird Ideas of Tax Cheaters". DigitalJournal.com. Archived from the original on 2006-05-21. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  142. ^ In re Hovind, 197 B.R. 157, at 161.
  143. ^ The Hovind Bankruptcy Decision talk.origins 1998
  144. ^ a b Escambia County, Florida Clerks Office May 5, 1998
  145. ^ a b c Stewart, Michael (18 July 2006). "Park owner pleads not guilty to tax fraud: Evangelist says he's owned by God". Pensacola News Journal. Archived from the original on 2006-07-21. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  146. ^ "Your Own Affair, More (VCR) or Less (MP3)". New York Times. October 2, 2003. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  147. ^ IRS Raids Home and Business of Creationist Christianity Today April 19, 2004
  148. ^ For a listing of liens search the Escambia County Clerk by last name.
  149. ^ Michael Stewart (21 October 2006). "Lawyer: Hovind detailed actions: Evangelist said he 'beat the system'". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  150. ^ a b Lozare, Nicole (November 2, 2006). "'Dr. Dino,' wife guilty". Pensacola News Journal. 
  151. ^ Heisig, Eric (May 23, 2013). "'Dr. Dino' ordered to pay taxes, penalties". Pensacola News Journal. 
  152. ^ Order and decision, United States Tax Court, Docket 4245-10. May 15, 2003.
  153. ^ Indictment, United States of America v. Kent E. Hovind and Jo D. Hovind, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division, case no. 3:06CR83/MCR (dated July 11, 2006; filed at 12:55 pm, July 11, 2006) (hereinafter "Indictment").
  154. ^ a b c Stewart, Michael (14 July 2006). "Evangelist arrested on federal charges". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  155. ^ Kaufmann, Christina (July 20, 2006). "58 charges against anti-evolution speaker". The York Dispatch. 
  156. ^ a b Lozare, Nicole (October 31, 2006). "Kent and Jo Hovind deny having income". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  157. ^ Stewart, Michael (19 July 2006). "Creationist's fight with Uncle Sam may evolve into painful defeat". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  158. ^ "Kent Hovind arrested on federal charges". National Center for Science Education. July 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-18. 
  159. ^ Brown, Jim (July 21, 2006). "Tax-Evasion Charges Baseless, Says Ministry Leader". AgapePress. Retrieved 2006-12-18. 
  160. ^ "Tax Evasion Charges Baseless Says Ministry Leader". WDC Media News. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-18. 
  161. ^ Stewart, Michael (October 21, 2006). "Lawyer: Hovind detailed actions: Evangelist said he 'beat the system'". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  162. ^ Lozare, Nicole (November 1, 2006). "Judge admonishes Hovind attorney". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  163. ^ Lozare, Nicole (November 2, 2006). "Hovind defense lawyers call no witnesses in case". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  164. ^ O'Brien, Mark (November 3, 2006). "Hard to believe a man with a Ph.D didn't know of a basic tax law". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  165. ^ Stewart, Michael (19 January 2007). "10 years for 'Dr. Dino'". Pensacola News Journal. 
  166. ^ Stewart, Michael (20 January 2006). "A decade for 'Dr. Dino'". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  167. ^ "Kent Hovind jail phone calls (2006)". Archive.org. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  168. ^ Lozare, Nicole (November 3, 2006). "'Dr. Dino' guilty on all counts: Couple could get more than 200 years". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  169. ^ a b "Locate a Federal Inmate: Kent Hovind". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  170. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Kent Hovind". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-11. 
  171. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Kent Hovind". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  172. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Kent Hovind". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  173. ^ "Last Updated: June 27, 2011". KentHovindBlog.com. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  174. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Kent Hovind". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  175. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Kent Hovind". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  176. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Kent Hovind". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  177. ^ Hovind, Eric (May 23, 2013). "Please pray for Kent". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-05-28.  Kent Hovind previously wrote: "I started making my bookmarkers and paper airplanes for a few guys and it spread like wildfire! My 2nd day I made nearly 300! Each one doubles as a gospel tract so pray God uses them to reach many for His kingdom please."
  178. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Kent Hovind". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  179. ^ Creationist theme park owner's wife sentenced.[dead link] Associated Press, ABC Action News 2007-06-29. Retrieved on 2007-06-29.
  180. ^ "Appeals court upholds sentence in Hovind tax-evasion case". Pensacola News Journal. July 4, 2007. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  181. ^ "Instrument ($604,874.87 lien)". Escambia County Florida Clerk of the Circuit Court. June 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  182. ^ "D. C. Docket No. 06-00083-CR-3-MCR" (PDF). Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court. December 30, 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  183. ^ "Court upholds Hovind convictions". Pensacola News Journal. January 5, 2009. 
  184. ^ "Legal Update". Creation Science Evangelism blog. January 23, 2009. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  185. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Jo Delia Hovind, prisoner number 06453-017". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2008. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  186. ^ "Tax-evasion sentences upheld for 'Dr. Dino' and wife". Pensacola News Journal. January 6, 2009. p. B.2. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  187. ^ Wernowsky, Kris (August 1, 2009). "Judge clears way for dinosaur park to be seized". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  188. ^ "Jailed owner fights to keep park open". Pensacola News Journal. July 21, 2008. 
  189. ^ "Dinosaur Adventure Land to be seized?". National Center for Science Education. July 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  190. ^ "Tax evader wants sentence tossed out". Pensacola News Journal. December 1, 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  191. ^ "United States of America v. Kent E. Hovind". United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. May 2, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  192. ^ "'Dr. Dino' ordered to pay taxes, penalties". Pensacola News Journal. May 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  193. ^ "Cases matching "kent hovind"". Justia Dockets & Filings. 
  194. ^ "I currently have battles on 6 legal fronts. All the details are posted and updated on 2peter3.com and clearly show my innocence and the corruption in the government's case against me." Blog- August 2013 UPDATE, 2peter3.com. Hovind writes that his legal files are posted online with help from Paul Hansen, a sovereign citizen. See: "Landlord can't talk way out of jail," World-Herald, September 18, 2009
  195. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Kent Hovind". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  196. ^ Indictment, Oct. 21, 2014, United States v. Hovind, case no. 3:14-cr-00091-MCR, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola Div.).
  197. ^ Robinson, Kevin. "'Dr. Dino' facing new legal woes". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  198. ^ Robinson, Kevin. "Trial for 'Dr. Dino' moved to January". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved December 2, 2014. 
  199. ^ Robinson, Kevin. ""Dr. Dino" trial delayed until March". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved Jan 28, 2015. 
  200. ^ a b Robinson, Kevin. "Hovind's 'fight' continues in court". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  201. ^ Robinson, Kevin. "Paper trial prominent in Hovind trial". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  202. ^ Robinson, Kevin. "'Dr Dino' Kent Hovind takes the witness stand". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  203. ^ "Kent 'Dr Dino' Hovind trial: Guilty of contempt". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  204. ^ Court order, March 20, 2015, docket entry 155, United States v. Hovind, case no. 3:14-00091-MCR, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola Div.).

Bibliography

External links