Our Blog

Not Income Tax Evasion – Structuring

Entrance to Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensaco...

Entrance to Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kent Hovind was recently named to the Creation Science Hall of Fame.  They may have to wait for any sort of induction ceremony as he is presently a federal inmate in Berlin, NH with a projected release date of August 11, 2015.  Nick Lally believes that Mr. Hovind is in jail “out of principle and not deceit”.  We’ll get to that, but first I should explain that the Creation Science Hall of Fame does not yet have an actual hall, although they have projected one to be built.  The Hall will be strategically located between the Answers In Genesis Creation Museum and the upcoming Ark Encounter.  I’m thinking I’ll wait for all three to be completed before I visit Petersburg KY as the only other attraction I noted there involves horseback riding.  Here is what qualified Mr. Hovind to be admitted to the Creation Science Hall of Fame:

Kent E. Hovind (born January 15, 1953), an American young earth creationist, is considered by many to be one of the foremost authorities on science and the Bible. The amazing ability of Kent Hovind to communicate complicated scientific concepts in an easy-to-understand format makes this essential information accessible for youth and laypersons, as well as science professors. The goal of his creation seminars is to convince listeners to reject theories of evolution, geophysics, and cosmology in favor of the Genesis creation narrative from the Bible. As of 2012, this Creation Seminar has parts translated via subtitling in 37 languages.

What Is Young Earth Creationism ?

One of the most important fundamental beliefs of contemporary evangelical Christianity is “scriptural inerrancy”.   If  you combine “scriptural inerrancy” with a certain style of literalism, you end up with the Earth being roughly 6,000 years old.  That is not nearly enough time for evolution to work.  Geologists also have a problem with a young earth.  (I asked my friend, Claire Pless, a graduate student at the Colorado School of Mines about that.  She told me about something called zircons.)I could try to explain how “scriptural inerrancy” could be reconciled with an old earth, but dammit Jim, I’m a tax blogger, not a theologian, so I turned to my blogging buddy, Reverend William Thornton:

There are many conservative Christians who both consider the Bible to be inspired and inerrant and who do not accept evolution but who do accept that the earth is very old. I acknowledge that the many lines of physical evidence indicate a very old earth.

If one’s interpretive approach to Scripture is such that a very young earth is demanded, then it is necessary to discount each and every
instance where modern scientific evidence differs from this; hence, the, uh, modern creation (mid-twentieth century) of young earth
specialists who generate sufficient publications discounting any and all old earth claims to satisfy the demands of likeminded biblical
interpreters, many churches, and Christian schools.

Why Is Kent Hovind In Federal Prison ?

 You will see reports that Kent Hovind is in prison for tax evasion. This is understandable.  According to this recent Tax Court decision concerning Mrs. Hovind, neither he nor she were filing 1040s.  That is not what he is in prison for. In 2006, a jury found Kent Hovind guilty on all counts of a fifty-eight count indictment.  Twelve counts concerned failure to file quarterly payroll tax returns for Creation Science Evangelism (Mr. Hovind’s ministry which operated the Dinosaur Adventure Land theme park).  Forty-five counts were for “structuring”.  He or his wife made cash withdrawals from the bank in the amounts of $9,500 or $9,600 on forty-five separate occasions between the summer of 2001 and the summer of 2002.  The 58th count said he had corruptly endeavored “to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws” . That particular offense reminds me of a crime that the city cops I hung around with in the seventies used to talk about.  They called it “ B and A”, which stood for “being an _______”.  In Hovind’s case it included filing complaints, making threats and paying his employees in cash and calling them missionaries.

 The Creation Hall of Fame has replaced its statement that Mr. Hovind was testing the constitutionality of the tax laws and was unable to find a righteous judge with a lengthy statement by Hovind that explains that he was not doing that.  Here are some excerpts:

I have NEVER been a tax protester. America was founded by those type guys and we NEED them today, but I am NOT one.

The government, however, broke over 20 laws to put me in prison. This has been the history of man. See the story of Joseph, Job, Jesus, 6 million Jews in Hitler’s camps etc.

I DO NOT say the tax laws are unconstitutional nor did I break one to “prove a point” or “test the law.”

Hovind appealed his conviction and sentence to the Eleventh Circuit, which upheld both, but he has not given up. 

He has a letter from an anonymous sympathetic banker on his site that gives this analysis of the structuring charge:

By this twisted logic, if you deposit or withdrew $500 from your own bank account every week for 21 weeks, you could be arrested and charged with 21 counts of structuring because the amount went over $10,000.‘ You could be fined $5,250,000 and sentenced to 105 years in prison (even though you never had the $10,000 in your account at any one time and the money was not earned or spent illegally)!

 The Fight Continues ?

Retired IRS Appeals Officer Robert Baty had a brief e-mail exchange with Mr. Hovind in which he indicated that he is still fighting:

The 45 counts I was charged with are flawed for a number of reasons spelled out in document 335, 349 and 351 in my case. 

If the charge in the indictment is wrong the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case. 

It is NEVER too late to challenge jurisdiction.  This is NOT over yet. :)

Apparently having been tried and convicted and his appeal turned down, he still thinks that he can get the indictment overturned.  He just does not see how it can be a crime to take money out of the bank to pay the expenses of his ministry.

Is What The Government Doing A Good Idea ?

Despite his claim to the Creations Science Hall of Fame that he is not a tax protester, Mr. Hovind at different points in time has made the type of statements associated with protesters and based on the outcome of civil litigation had not been filing returns.  He was pretty well trounced in Tax Court and it is possible that going after him criminally was superfluous, but I have never been able to discern why it is that some cases rather than others go criminal.  Assuming that it made sense to go after him  criminally, I imagine the reason for the structuring charges is that they are much easier to prove and having so many of them makes quite an impression on the jury, but I’m not sure it is sending the right message.  The structuring conviction can be painted, as it is in this article, to make Kent Hovind look like a victim. 

There has always been this delicious irony about gangster Al Capone finally being convicted of income tax evasion rather than the multitude of other crimes that escaped punishment.  Somehow convicting Dr. Dino (as Kent Hovind is known) for taking his own money out of the bank rather than for income tax evasion just does not seem as satisfying.

You can follow me on twitter @peterreillycpa.

 

 

 

 

 

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2013/01/30/not-income-tax-evasion-structuring-thats-how-they-got-kent-hovind/

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: ,

Comments & Responses