Jury Deadlocks on Three of Four Charges Against Incarcerated Evolutionary Foe Kent Hovind

HovindPENSACOLA, Fla. — A jury that contemplated four new charges that could have put an imprisoned creation science evangelist who refuted evolutionary theory behind bars for life was unable to agree on three of the charges filed against him.

As previously reported, Kent Hovind, the founder of Creation Science Evangelism out of Pensacola, Florida, has been fighting charges of mail fraud and contempt for contesting liens against a number of properties that had been seized by the government several years ago.

He has been incarcerated since 2007 over 58 federal counts, 45 of which centered on alleged “structuring,” a term that refers to breaking up one’s banking transactions into smaller amounts in order to avoid reporting. The original intent of the law had reportedly been to catch drug dealers and money launderers.

In regard to Hovind’s specific charges, the minister and his wife had made dozens of cash withdrawals of just over $9,000 each over a year’s time, and the government asserted that he was attempting to “obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws.” However, Hovind said that he paid for his ministry expenses in cash—including compensation for those involved with Creation Science Evangelism—and was not seeking to evade any laws as anything over $10,000 was reported as required.

The government also leveled tax evasion charges against Hovind, who traveled the nation presenting talks about science and the Bible, as he had considered his ministry to be a church and considered himself to be a minister. Churches are not required to file taxes and are automatically exempt under the law.

But an official with Pensacola Christian College reported Hovind to the IRS, which concluded that those at Creation Science Evangelism did not technically consider the ministry to be their church. The government likewise did not believe Hovind when he said that those who served with him were missionaries who paid their own self-employment taxes, but not employees. Hovind also stated that he did not receive any personal compensation from the ministry.

The IRS subsequently ordered Hovind to pay payroll taxes as it would not permit Creation Science Evangelism to be classified as a church, and since it did not believe that those who worked for him were independent contractor missionaries.

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In 2004, Hovind’s home was raided by IRS agents, and tax liens were placed against 10 properties relating to his biblical theme park. He filed three separate lawsuits against the government in an attempt to stop the proceedings, which he viewed as harassment, but was unsuccessful.

In 2006, the case went to trial, and a jury convicted him on all 58 counts. His wife, Jo Delia, was convicted on 44 counts. In January 2007, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and remains incarcerated to this day.

As Hovind has been seeking to contest the lien from behind bars, he was subsequently charged with mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and contempt. According to the Pensacola News Journal, years ago, Hovind had been prohibited under a court order not to contest the government’s lien on the properties. Because he did file papers, including a “lis pendens,” which warns potential buyers that the land is under dispute, he was charged with contempt. The mail fraud charges were for actually mailing the documents from prison.

But a jury was unconvinced that Hovind, and ministry trustee Paul Hanson, had sought to defraud the government by mailing the documents. As they deadlocked and could not come to an agreement on three of the four charges against Hovind, the evolutionary foe was declared guilty of only the contempt charge.

While supporters are disappointed that the jury declared Hovind guilty of any of the charges at all, they state that they are thankful for the outcome for the most part.

“I think the Lord God Almighty worked in a mighty way here,” Free Kent Hovind organizer Rudy Davis told reporters. “They threw their best lawyers; they had five days of prosecution; they read hundreds of documents, hundreds of emails, voicemails they had sequestered—everything they could throw at the man.”

Sentencing is set for June 12.

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  • Jerod Hatch

    My first question is- how close to 10k was he getting on those withdrawals?

  • Oboehner

    “…dozens of cash withdrawals of just over $9,000 each over a year’s time…” The horror!!!!

    Pensacola “Christian” College, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, Bob’s your uncle.

  • MelanieWaffle

    It sounds like he was doing illegal stuff…. I don’t see how this is relevant to his beliefs. He tried to game the system and got called on it.

    • GibbyD

      But it has NEVER been proven that he did anything illegal ., HE PAID THE MISSIONARIES that worked with him IN CASH !!!! That is NOT against the law !!

      • Doc Bill

        Yes, it was “proven” enough for Hovind to be found guilty on 58 counts in 2006, serving 10 years in federal prison, and losing all appeals up to the Supreme Court. Furthermore, he was served an injunction against filing lien notices on property seized to pay restitution for his crimes, and he continued to violate the injunction which led to the contempt charge. Hovind never filed a 501(c) on his “ministry” therefore it was legally a business, not tax exempt, and his workers were employees, not missionaries, who were paid a wage. Hovind never filed payroll withholding tax, but pocketed the money. That’s illegal. There are consequences to breaking the law and not paying your taxes as Hovind found out.

  • Frank

    The court order was highly contemptible. To have a judge say a person has no right to fight for his rights is wrong on so many levels and is truly denying him justice. He should not have been found guilty of contempt.

  • Gary

    It should not be illegal to withdraw your own money from your bank account. An absurd and unjust law. THE GOVERNMENT IS CORRUPT AND DESERVES NO RESPECT.

  • GibbyD

    The Florida Governor should pardon Hovind immediately. That the government could do this to any American , is disgusting . It might be a good thing to move out of Florida if you are any kind of business or ministry .

    • James

      The governor of Florida has zero ability to pardon someone in jail for a federal crime. Only the president can do that.

      • GibbyD

        Then I pray that the President pardons this man so that this brother in Christ will not have to wait until Mike Huckabee becomes President in 2016 to do so.

  • GibbyD

    Pensacola Bible Institute is a much better Christian school than the Pensacola Bible College. Actually the Pensacola Bible Institute makes the Pensacola Bible College seem like just a money making secular business in comparison.

  • It is incumbent upon us Christians to be light to the world and to conduct ourselves in a way that does not even give the IMPRESSION of sin. How can you rejoice over the fact the the jury acquitted him on three counts, ignoring the fact that he was convicted of one, this on top of the other 58 counts he was found guilty of? This not government harassment, this is a felon using the church to justify his criminal activity.

    • Gary

      Not true. In the first place, the “laws” he supposedly broke should not be laws. And breaking some stupid law is not a sin.

      • MelanieWaffle

        Ummmm Romans 13:1-5 begs to differ. The laws aren’t immoral thus even the Bible seems to say what he did is wrong.

        • Gary

          The law that prohibits you from taking your own money out of your own bank account are “not immoral”. I beg to differ.

        • Gary

          I am sure you would do ANYTHING the government required of you.

      • They are not “stupid laws.” Your elected representatives passed them. We don’t get to pick and choose which laws to obey. Christians are under a moral obligation to obey civil laws. In rare (and I emphasize rare) situations in which we are compelled to commit sin we may choose to disobey the law, but we are still in violation of the law and should be willing to accept whatever punishment is meted out. In his case, no one was compelling him to do anything. He was obviously gaming the system ($9,000 transactions are a red flag) and deserves what he got. His behavior is a disgrace to Christians everywhere and it is embarrassing that this web site is defending him.

  • Gary

    Hovind has more than paid for any “crime” he allegedly committed. He should be freed immediately. The REAL reason he is still in jail is because he opposes evolution.

    • MelanieWaffle

      I don’t think that’s the “real” reason. If so wouldn’t Ken Ham at answers in Genesis be imprisoned by now? This guy broke the law….. multiple times. His beliefs are irrelevant.

      • Gary

        I think you are naïve.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      Am I getting this right? By your use of scare quotes, you don’t believe that refusing to pay your taxes is a crime?

      • Gary

        Hovind did not refuse to pay his taxes.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          No? What did he do then?

          • Gary

            He took his own money out of his own bank account, which the government said was illegal. And he thought he was hiring independent contractors who were responsible to pay their own taxes, but the government said he should have collected and paid their taxes.

  • worthywalking

    Terrible that this all got started by hateful people at a “Christian” college who didn’t like Hovind.

  • Darby C. Reger

    Sounds like double jeopardy – the legal term, not the TV game show. But our courts have ‘made up’ rules to evade the true meaning of our laws.

    • James

      statue of limitations probably

  • Liz it Is

    China does not recognize any church but the state-sanctioned “Three Self Church”–the real church is underground and persecuted. Is Amerika heading in this direction? Are only incorporated 501c3 churches “officially” recognized as churches? There is a “Liberty Church” movement where churches are throwing off the “bit and bridle” of the IRS and their ties to the government. Kent Hovind is not only an effective, articulate teacher on Young Earth Creation, but he taught on the machinations of the New World Order and its henchmen carrying it out…and he had a growing platform of influence to do so…clearly a dangerous man.

    • Scott Lanway

      an effective, articulate teacher on Young Earth Creation

      How articulate do you need to be to deny an overwhelming amount of evidence and scream “Goddidit” at the top of your lungs?

      • Liz it Is

        You have obviously never heard any of his teachings. “He who answers a matter before hearing it, it is foolish and flooy to him.”

  • Jessica Montaperto

    He’s a pharise, not a follower of Christ, they claim to know him but live darkness.,

  • Schillie Young

    is’nt warning buyers that something is under dispute part of the law? if he was selling it
    and someone bought it they probably have more than tax evasion on him which is the only thing i’m really seeing here. everything else is off odvisly misused.

  • Freethinker02

    Rapists and murderers get less time in prison. That tells you a little bit about our “justice” system.