|Born||Kent E. Hovind
January 15, 1953
|Residence||Federal Correctional Institution, Yazoo City Low|
|Occupation||Evangelist, Christian theme park operator|
|Known for||Advocate of Young Earth creationism, convicted of tax-related crimes|
|10 years imprisonment and 3 years probation|
|Criminal status||Scheduled release: August 9, 2015|
|Spouse(s)||Jo Delia Hovind|
|Conviction(s)||Willful failure to pay taxes, Structuring, Obstructing IRS administration|
Kent E. Hovind (born January 15, 1953) is an American Christian fundamentalist evangelist and tax protester. He is a controversial figure in the Young Earth creationist movement and his ministry focuses on attempting to convince listeners to deny scientific theories including evolution, geophysics, and cosmology in favor of a literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative found in the Bible. Hovind's views, which combine elements of creation science and conspiracy theory, are dismissed by the scientific community as fringe theory and pseudo-scholarship. Moreover, he has been criticized by Young Earth Creationist organisations like Answers in Genesis for his continued use of discredited arguments that have been abandoned by others in the movement.
Hovind established Creation Science Evangelism in 1989 and Dinosaur Adventure Land in 2001 in Pensacola, Florida. He frequently spoke on Young Earth creationism in schools, churches, debates, and on radio and television broadcasts. His son Eric Hovind took over operation of CSE after Kent began serving a ten-year prison sentence in January 2007 for federal court convictions on 58 counts: 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, a federal court jury found Hovind guilty of contempt of court in connection with a charge of disobeying a prior court order, but the trial Court rejected the guilty verdict and rendered a judgment of acquittal in favor of Hovind, stating that there was no language in the prior court order that Hovind could be found, as a matter of law, to have disobeyed.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Creationism
- 3 Controversial remarks
- 4 YouTube copyright controversy
- 5 Legal problems
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
At the age of 16, Hovind became a born-again Christian within the Independent Fundamental Baptist church. He married his wife Jo in 1973 and they had three children between 1977 and 1979. Between 1975 and 1988, Hovind served as an assistant pastor and teacher at three private Baptist schools, including one he started. In 1989, the family moved to Pensacola, Florida where Jo would attend Pensacola Christian College and would earn a bachelor's degree in music and master's degrees in music and sacred music.
In 1989, Kent started Creation Science Evangelism. In 1998, he created his Dr. Dino web site and began producing articles and selling video tapes, books, and fossil replicas. 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. Kent and Jo are grandparents.
In 1971, he graduated from East Peoria Community High School in East Peoria, Illinois, and received degrees from unaccredited institutions. He attended the accredited Illinois Central College, then transferred to Midwestern Baptist College in 1972, attaining a Bachelor of Religious Education in 1974. 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]
Having a website called "Dr. Dino" has provoked some academics to look closely at how Hovind presents his education and credentials. He has no training in paleontology. 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 training makes academic discussion impossible and has said that his understanding of historical and scientific research is deficient. Patriot University is a diploma mill. Karen Bartelt, an organic chemistry professor who debated Hovind, examined Hovind's dissertation and found it is short,[notes 2] contains numerous spelling errors, lacks references, shows flawed reasoning, and does not present any original research.
Creation Science Evangelism and Creation Today
Hovind began Creation Science Evangelism in 1989 to evangelize and teach creationism. In May 1999, his son Eric joined Creation Science Evangelism as a speaker, and his daughter Marlissa began training to become Kent Hovind's secretary. 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 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. After finishing high school at Pensacola Christian Academy in 1996, Eric attended Jackson Hole Bible College a one-year non-accredited institution, despite Kent Hovind's objections to Jackson Hole's Gap creationism and Day-age creationism teaching. In July 2007, God Quest Inc. was incorporated with Eric Hovind as president, and that November, God Quest Inc. filed in Florida to do business under the trade name Creation Science Evangelism. 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, and in late 2011, Creation Science Evangelism's DrDino.com website was redirected to CreationToday.org. The new website announced "Creation Today is a ministry of God Quest, Inc." with focus on "creation, apologetics and evangelism."
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, and in June, the court ruled in favor of the government. Then in May 2013, Hovind filed several lis pendens as notices of liens. In October 2013, a federal judge found "the lis pendens were null and void ab initio", 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
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In 2001, Hovind started Dinosaur Adventure Land, a Young Earth creationist theme park located behind Hovind's home in Pensacola, Florida. With the slogan, "Where Dinosaurs and the Bible meet!", the facility on roughly seven acres had an indoor "Science Center" and an outdoor space with a variety of simple dinosaur-themed rides and activities each which was tied to some religious message. For example, the "Jumpasaurus" was a trampoline next to a basketball hoop; children would have one minute to make as many baskets as they could, and the message was that you have to be coordinated to do more for Jesus. Annual attendance was 38,000. The park depicted humans and dinosaurs co-existing in the last 4,000–6,000 years and also contains a depiction of the Loch Ness monster. 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". A 2004 Skeptical Inquirer article discussed a visit to Hovind's dinosaur theme park and concluded that the park is "deceptive on many levels". The Southern Poverty Law Center said the park also "claims that a few small dinosaurs still roam the planet". George Allan Alderman described it as "essentially a playground with a few exhibits, several fiberglass dinosaurs, a climbing wall, and a couple of buildings." 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."
The venture has encountered legal issues, as the owners failed to acquire a building permit for the park (see below). With the issue still unresolved in April 2006, Escambia County officials shut the buildings. 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, attempted to prevent the forfeitures of Hovind's ten properties, including Dinosaur Adventure Land, in connection with Kent Hovind's federal tax problems. 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. In August 2009, Dinosaur Adventure Land's website announced it was closed, and CSE announced its re-opening as the "Creation Store" in November 2010.
Earnings and assets
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According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Hovind earned $50,000 a year through speaking engagements,[notes 3] and in 2002 alone, CSE sold more than $1.8 million in merchandise. Hovind's theme park revenues and merchandise sales revenues amounted to more than US$5 million from 1999 to March 2004. On average, Hovind made bank deposits in excess of $1 million each year, and eventually that grew to about $2 million a year. 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".
Prior to his prison term, Kent Hovind also owned at least 10 properties, including Dinosaur Adventure Land. As of 2009[update], the government was seizing the property for money owed. 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." The court accepted Eric's ownership of that property, but allowed the government to seize the other nine properties. In 2013, Kent Hovind filed liens on the property seized. A federal judge rejected Hovind's claims and dismissed the filings, 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.
Kent presented a version of Young Earth creationism he calls the "Hovind Theory" in lectures and in the book Unmasking the False Religion of Evolution. The Hovind Theory is entirely rejected in the scientific community, and its plausibility has been criticized by other Young Earth creationists.
Hovind expands upon the early 20th century vapor canopy concept of a protective shield that made Earth a relative paradise between the expulsion from Paradise and Noah's flood. According to the Hovind Theory, Noah's family and two of every kind of animal (including dinosaurs which fit because babies were taken aboard and conditions allowed larger humans making the ark's size based on cubits larger) boarded Noah's ark before an ice meteor impacted the Earth. Fragments from the meteor caused planetary rings and impact craters on the moon and other solar system bodies. The remainder were drawn to the North and South Poles by the Earth's magnetic field as cataclysmic snowfall which buried the mammoths standing up. The 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. 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 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.
The most widely distributed antievolution work, Big Daddy?, was first published in 1972[notes 4] and revised several times; it is one of the controversial Chick tracts, comic strips intended to convert people to fundamentalist Christianity. Material from Hovind was incorporated into the 2000 revision.
Criticism from creationists
In a rare case of open dissent within the movement over the substance of creation science, Answers in Genesis (AiG) published a 2002 position paper titled: "Arguments we think creationists should NOT use". After Hovind issued a point-by-point rebuttal, Carl Wieland, Ken Ham, and Jonathan Sarfati of AiG wrote that the claims made by Hovind were "fraudulent" and contained "mistakes in facts and logic which do the creationist cause no good." In particular, AiG criticized Hovind for "persistently us[ing] discredited or false arguments" as well as "fraudulent claims" from Ron Wyatt, and described one of Hovind's claims as "self-refuting". Rancorous disagreements resulted AiG splitting into U.S. and Australian chapters in 2005. The Australian branch, renamed Creation Ministries International (CMI), maintained content critical of Hovind on their website, while the U.S. branch, led by Ken Ham, removed it. In 2009, CMI said that they had relaxed their stance because CSE's revamped website had removed some of Hovind's claims to which they objected.
Greg Neyman, an old-Earth creationist who runs the Old Earth Ministries website (renamed from Answers in Creation), writes that Hovind's articles about humans and dinosaurs coexisting are unsupported by evidence and that they "embarrass the young earth creation science community as a whole".
Criticism from non-creationists
While Hovind campaigns against evolution, the level of support for evolution is essentially universal within the scientific community and academia, while support for creationism is minimal among scientists in general, and virtually nonexistent among those in the relevant fields: biology, paleontology, geology, etc.
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," 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." Massimo Pigliucci also debated Hovind, and expressed surprise at Hovind's ignorance of evolutionary theory. Pigliucci recalled Hovind try "to convince the audience that evolutionists believe humans came from rocks" and subsequently "evolved from bananas." William Reville, Director of Microscopy at University College Cork, wrote that Hovind's ideas are not rational or scientific because they are not testable. Hovind has repeatedly declined written debates where his claims would be scrutinized by scientists, for example, when offered by Dave Thomas.
In 1990, Hovind made a $10,000 offer to anyone who could meet a set of requirements he said would prove evolution, and he later raised the amount to $250,000. In 2007, Creation Science Evangelism removed the offer from its website."
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.
*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. 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. The judges would be hand-picked without assurances that they would be unbiased or qualified to assess the merit of claims, and it is possible that no panel was convened when a claim was submitted. Some forms of evidence would be excluded prior to judging.
Answers in Genesis dismissed the challenge as a gimmick.:172–3 A 2005 challenge on Boing Boing offered $250,000 to anyone who could prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster (the deity of a parody religion constructed to make a point about giving time to alternate views on evolution) was not the father of Jesus.
Politics and conspiracies
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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. 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, U.S. government officials, business leaders, and social activists. In May 1999, he claimed "the implementation of the NWO's world-domination plan was May 5, 2000."
Hovind has several conspiracy theories about the U.S. government. He has claimed that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing. 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." The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) criticized Hovind for referring followers to books by Irwin Schiff, a tax protester who has been convicted of tax evasion multiple times.
He claims that the cyanide-releasing compound laetrile is a "cancer cure" and argues that the U.S. government is conspiring to suppress a cure for cancer. Hovind says diseases including HIV, Gulf war syndrome, Crohn's colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer's were all engineered by "the money masters and governments of the world" for the purpose of global economic domination. He has denounced democracy as "evil and contrary to God's law". 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."
In his lectures, he claimed that the United States government was implanting pet-tracking microchips into people allowing them to be tracked by satellite, even though the transponder range made that impossible. On his website, Hovind associated the UPC bar code with the Mark of the Beast, and wrote that there were reports of people paying for groceries by having their hands scanned in 1999.
The 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", 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.
Hovind accuses Darwinism of having produced "Communism, Socialism, Nazism, abortion, liberalism and the New Age Movement". He blamed the forced Cherokee resettlement on a belief in evolution, although the Trail of Tears preceded Origin of Species by roughly two decades.
Hovind maintains that biology textbooks are lying in order to brainwash youth. He said, "Satan is using evolution theory to make kids go to hell." Hovind claims he is not trying to eliminate evolution from schools, but says "schools should teach both viewpoints." In 2000, he called global warming a communist conspiracy.
In the pseudoscience of cryptozoology, Hovind published and co-authored Claws, Jaws, and Dinosaurs with William Gibbons, another Creationist who has searched for dinosaurs in the Congo under the belief that discovering a cryptid would somehow undermine evolutionary theory and that dinosaurs were dragons. Dinosaur Adventure Land had displays about the existence of the Loch Ness monster and Beowulf as history rather than legend.
Hovind has claimed that in addition to dinosaurs and humans coexisting, Tyrannosaurus rex was a vegetarian prior to the fall of man. He has surmised that the Great Pyramid was built as a stone version of the Bible, not by the Egyptians, but "could have been built by Adam's relatives". His dissertation says that the serpent taught evolution to Adam and Eve.
During a debate with Farrell Till, Hovind said that Donald Johanson had uncovered the leg bones of Lucy at a different site over a mile away in a deeper stratum, quipping, "I would like to know how fast the train was going that hit that chimpanzee." 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. Hovind said that in order to forge "missing link" transitional fossils to support human evolution, the Smithsonian Institution has 33,000 sets of human remains in their basement, some taken alive (murder).
Hovind was criticized for his involvement with Arkansas state Representative Jim Holt's Anti-Evolution Bill in 2001 (House Bill 2548). This bill "would have required that when public schools refer to evolution that it be identified as an unproven theory." Opponents of the bill worried that it would subject Arkansas to the same type of derision that occurred when the state's balanced-treatment law was struck down in McLean v. Arkansas. 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."
In 2007, David Vitter added a $100,000 earmark in a U.S. Senate appropriations bill, directed towards the Louisiana Family Forum "to develop a plan to promote better science education". Their website included a document, "'A Battle Plan—Practical Steps to Combat Evolution' by Kent Hovind". After a reporter's inquiries, the document, which called evolution "not a harmless theory but a dangerous religious belief" and blamed it for atrocities by Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Pol Pot, was removed from their website. The earmark was withdrawn from the bill.
YouTube copyright controversy
|Wikinews has related news: Kent Hovind's ministry files DMCA complaints though the group released material into public domain|
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. In response to the copyright claims, the RRS threatened a lawsuit.
At the time of the complaints, the CSE's website indicated the videos were not copyrighted, and the CSE encouraged copying and distributing them. Five days later, the CSE copyright page was changed to say that copied material must be left unedited. According to a spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, CSE's claim was "clearly bogus", and as of September 25, 2007, the Rational Response Squad account had been reinstated, and some of the videos had been put back online.
Escambia County (2002–2006)
On September 13, 2002, Hovind was charged with failure to observe county zoning regulations for Dinosaur Adventure Land, a misdemeanor. In April 2006, the Dinosaur Adventure Land buildings were closed by county officials, and the Florida circuit court found the owners in contempt, ordering fines of $500 for each day the buildings were used. 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, and violating the county building code. Hovind paid fines totaling $675.
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. Hovind's businesses had neither business licenses nor tax-exempt status, nor was it considered a church by people who worked there. 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", 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.
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On March 1, 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. 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. On June 5, 1996, the Court dismissed Hovind's bankruptcy case, finding he had lied about his possessions and income. 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."
In 1998, the IRS requested account information after Hovind made claims about noncompliance going back to the 1970s on an internet broadcast. While his internet provider initially balked, the courts granted a subpoena on the basis that the IRS could demonstrate income and no filed income tax returns going back to 1991. In 2003, Hovind would tell The New York Times, "I haven't filed a tax return in 30 years."
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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'," 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." Judges and the IRS did not appear to honor this as a legally relevant document in future decisions. In 2002, Hovind was again delinquent in paying his taxes, and unsuccessfully sued the IRS for harassment.
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In Spring 2004, the IRS conducted an audit and criminal investigation regarding Hovind's unfiled personal Federal income tax for 1995–1997. 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." 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. Agents confiscated $42,000 in cash found in various places in the residence. Six guns were present, including an SKS semiautomatic rifle. That day, Hovind withdrew $70,000 from the CSE bank account, half in cash.
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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. 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." With penalties, he owed $3.3 million for tax years 1998–2006 by 2013. Jo Hovind was ordered to pay $1.6 million.
On July 11, 2006, Hovind was indicted on 58 counts in the District Court in Northern Florida in Pensacola. The first 12 counts were willful failure to collect, account for, and pay over federal income taxes and FICA taxes, totaling $473,818 for the 12 fiscal quarters of 2001–2003. The next 45 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.
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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." 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." 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.
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. Because of reports of weapons on the Hovind property, the indictment was originally sealed for fear of danger to the arresting agents.
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." 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". Evidence produced at the trial revealed that Jo Hovind had requested financial assistance from Baptist Healthcare claiming that the Hovinds had no income.
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. 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. 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. During the trial, the judge "admonished" Hovind's attorney for wasting time and asking irrelevant questions.
The trial concluded on November 1 with the defense deciding not to present a case. 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 45 for his wife. The Pensacola News Journal said, "The saddest thing: Had they cooperated with the agents, they probably wouldn't be worrying about prison sentences now."
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." However, Hovind's court room behavior was in stark contrast to phone calls he made while in jail and played by the prosecution. 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. At sentencing, he denied being a "tax protester", but the prosecution, an IRS spokesman, and the Pensacola News Journal used the term to describe him.
On June 29, 2007, Jo Hovind was sentenced to one year of imprisonment, three years of supervision upon release and fined $8,000. 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.
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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.
In 2007, the government placed liens on ten of the Hovinds' properties for money owed. 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. 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. Following the appeal, Jo Hovind served her prison term from January 20, 2009 to December 3, 2009.
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 to satisfy the debt. Eric Hovind kept the park and CSE operating throughout 2008, but in July 2009, a judge allowed the government seizure to proceed.
In November 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; it was denied the following May. The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari (declined to hear the case) on November 2, 2009.
In May 2013, facing the sale of lots that were once part of Dinosaur Adventure land, Hovind acted. Using legal advice from a another inmate, he filed a civil right suit against corrections personnel (a "Bivens action") alleging that they intentionally delayed court documents which hindered another appeal. Based on the assumption that it would trigger a chain of rulings that would ultimately result in the original sentence being overturned, he then filed several lis pendens on the properties. His release date was approaching when he would face new charges related to the lis pendens filings.
Federal mail fraud and criminal contempt trial in 2015
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
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 interfering with the sale of Pensacola properties Hovind was forced to forfeit as a result of the 2006 case. Hovind and Hansen pleaded not guilty and were tried together.
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". The prosecution case included numerous emails, recorded phone calls, and court filings related to the forfeited properties. The prosecution presented audio of Hovind characterizing a lis pendens by 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?" Hansen and Hovind took the stand in their own defense. According to journalist Kevin Robinson, during Hovind's testimony, he "refused to give short answers" and said that he believed his actions were lawful. On March 12, 2015, Hovind was found guilty of criminal contempt and jury was hung on the remaining charges. Sentencing had been scheduled for June 12, 2015.
A trial on the counts on which the jury could not reach a verdict had been ordered to begin on May 18, 2015. However, on Saturday, May 16, 2015, the prosecution filed its "Government's Motion to Dismiss Counts One, Two and Four of the Superseding Indictment Without Prejudice," citing "issues regarding the technical sufficiency of the Superseding Indictment, including the adequacy of notice." Later on Saturday, May 16, the Court cancelled the jury selection and trial that had been scheduled to begin on Monday, May 18, in order, in the Court's words, to permit the defendants to respond to the government's motion.
On Monday, May 18, 2015, the U.S. District Court made two decisions. First, the Court granted the prosecutor's request for a "without prejudice" dismissal of the three remaining charges against Hovind, allowing the prosecutor to go back to a Federal grand jury and seek a new indictment if desired. Second, the Court rendered a judgment of acquittal on the criminal contempt charge on which Hovind had been found guilty by the jury. On that point, the Court concluded that in the specific order that Hovind had been found guilty of violating, there was no actual language that prohibited Hovind from doing anything.
- Now Patriot Bible University in Del Norte, Colorado, which no longer offers this program
- it contains four chapters totaling 101 pages, but Hovind's introduction claims the work is 250 pages with 16 chapters
- In 2004, Hovind told the New York Times that he had 700 speaking engagements per year.
- There may also be a 1970 version.
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- "Court upholds Hovind convictions". Pensacola News Journal. January 5, 2009.
- "Legal Update". Creation Science Evangelism blog. January 23, 2009. Retrieved 2007-06-03.
- "Locate a Federal Inmate: Jo Delia Hovind, prisoner number 06453-017". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2008. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- "Jailed owner fights to keep park open". Pensacola News Journal. July 21, 2008. The story can be found in the collection: "The evolution of 'Dr. Dino'".
- "Dinosaur Adventure Land to be seized?". National Center for Science Education. July 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- "Tax evader wants sentence tossed out". Pensacola News Journal. December 1, 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
- "United States of America v. Kent E. Hovind". United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. May 2, 2011. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
- Case No. 09-5043, November 2, 2009, Kent E. Hovind v. United States, 130 S.Ct. 490 (2009).
- Robinson, Kevin. "Paper trial prominent in Hovind trial". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
- 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.).
- Robinson, Kevin. "Trial for 'Dr. Dino' moved to January". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- Robinson, Kevin. "'Dr. Dino' trial delayed until March". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved Jan 28, 2015.
- Robinson, Kevin. "Hovind's 'fight' continues in court". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- Robinson, Kevin. "'Dr Dino' Kent Hovind takes the witness stand". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- "Kent 'Dr Dino' Hovind trial: Guilty of contempt". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
- 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.).
- Docket entry 194, May 16, 2015, United States v. Kent E. Hovind and Paul John Hansen, case no. 3:14-cr-00091-MCR, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola Div.).
- Docket entry 195, May 16, 2015, United States v. Kent E. Hovind and Paul John Hansen, case no. 3:14-cr-00091-MCR, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola Div.).
- Robinson, Kevin (May 18, 2015). "Hovind charges in Pensacola erode". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
- Docket entry 198, May 18, 2015, United States v. Kent E. Hovind and Paul John Hansen, case no. 3:14-cr-00091-MCR, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola Div.).
- Docket entry 197, May 18, 2015, United States v. Kent E. Hovind and Paul John Hansen, case no. 3:14-cr-00091-MCR, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola Div.).
- Robinson, Kevin (May 19, 2015). "Kent 'Dr. Dino' Hovind cleared of all charges for now". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
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- Official YouTube channel Kent Hovind's creation seminars and debates.
- Kent Hovind at the Internet Movie Database