Kent Hovind arrested on federal charges

Kent Hovind, the evangelist who styles himself "Dr. Dino" and runs the Creation Science Evangelism ministry as well as Dinosaur Adventure Land, a small creationist theme park in Pensacola, Florida, was arrested on July 13, 2006, on fifty-eight federal charges. The Pensacola News-Journal (July 14, 2006) reports that in court Hovind professed not to understand the basis for the indictment: "I still don't understand what I'm being charged for and who is charging me," he said. The News-Journal adds that Hovind "has been sparring with the IRS for at least 17 years on his claims that he is employed by God, receives no income, has no expenses and owns no property."

Twelve of the charges in the indictment relate to Hovind's alleged failure to "deduct, collect, truthfully account for and pay over to the IRS federal income tax and FICA tax from the total taxable wages of CSE employees which were due and owing to the United States of America." Between March 31, 2001, and January 31, 2004, almost half a million dollars was unpaid. The indictment also alleged that Hovind, as well as his wife Jo Hovind, sought to evade federal requirements for reporting cash transactions. On forty-five separate occasions between July 2001 and August 2002, they withdrew cash sums of $9500 or $9600 -- just below the reporting threshold of $10,000 -- from their bank.

The final charge of the indictment alleges that Hovind "corruptly endeavor[ed] to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws" in a number of ways, including by paying his employees in cash and calling them "missionaries" rather than employees in order to evade payroll and FICA tax requirements, filing a petition of bankruptcy falsely listing the IRS as his only creditor, filing a false and frivolous lawsuit against the IRS, filing a number of false complaints against investigating IRS agents, destroying records, and threatening harm to investigators and to those assisting them in their investigations.

The News-Journal reports that Kent and Jo Hovind were released from custody pending their trial, which will be scheduled during the arraignment on July 24. A previous story (July 13, 2006) in the newspaper reported that the judge forbade them from traveling outside the court's jurisdiction, the Northern District of Florida; the later story reports, "Over Kent Hovind's protests, the judge took away his passport and guns Hovind claimed belonged to his church." Citing a report of weapons in the Hovind compound, the indictment was originally sealed for fear that "the arrest of the defendants in this case could pose some danger to agents."