Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kent Hovind's Innocence Narrative - Truth Some - Whole Truth Not So Much

As Kent Hovind faces another trial on May 18th he has honed the Hovindication narrative to a fine edge. Here is his latest summary as to what the case is all about.

As Rudy Davis puts it Kent Hovind was sentenced to ten years in prison for taking his own money out of the bank and now faces life in prison for mailing letter. The narrative supports the notion that the prosecution of Kent Hovind is religiously, even satanically, motivated.  Because he was so effective in exposing the lies of evolution, one of the key supports of the New World Order, he has been imprisoned on trumped up charges.

Here is the thing.  I think that further incarceration of Kent Hovind serves no good purpose. The government's case against him in the current trial strikes me as pretty thin.  I might have voted not guilty if I was on the original jury. I think a free Kent Hovind is probably less harmful to the cause of conventional tax compliance and the general sanity of the country than the vicitmized Doc Dino behind bars.  With that all said, I also believe that the Hovindication religious persecution narrative is ridiculous.

Oddly enough, I don't doubt Hovind's sincerity.  He is probably sincere in his belief that he has not broken any laws and has paid all the taxes that he owes. What he leaves out of the story is that he means he has not broken any laws that he thinks are valid and has paid all the taxes he thinks he owes.

It's About The Taxes Not The Dinosaurs

To understand why the IRS initially became interested in Kent Hovind you can go to the video he made titled CSE 103 Class 6 Topic "Income Tax"

In that video he explains that he has not filed an individual income tax return in 28 years, because there is no law that requires it.  Nothing about his vow of poverty or status as a minister.  You can still catch him spouting that type of rhetoric here and there as  when he told me that the IRS is a Puerto Rican collection company.

My interview with Kent is the only one I know of that was not inside the conspiracy theory echo chamber.

The number one proof of Kent's innocence on #FreeKent are letters about the voluntary nature of Form 1040.

You will hear Kent say that the investigations by the IRS of him personally yielded nothing, but that is not accurate.  He was never criminally charged with tax evasion, but in 2013, the Tax Court approved the IRS assessment of over $3.3 million in individual income tax and penalties for the years 1998-2006.

So if we were to accept the full Hovindication dream and say that Doctor Hovind's 2006 conviction is reversed and he is entitled to get the $400,000 plus in structured funds back and say $100,000 per year for each year he was incarcerated, he is probably still over a million bucks in the hole when you throw in the interest.

If you look at all the publically available information and still want to embrace the Hovindication narrative, you have to believe that the federal government does not have the authority to enforce the income tax.

There are many people who make arguments like that.  I happen to think that they are wrong as does the entire federal judiciary.  People who get really stubborn about it can get into significant trouble.  Kent Hovind is one of those people.  In 2006, he was not only convicted of structuring, he was also convicted of interfering with the administration of the internal revenue laws.  That relates to his antics in response to investigations of him.

The saddest part of this is that a conventionally compliant Kent Hovind would not have had to pay a lot of taxes, since religious organizations get very favorable tax treatment.  You will note in the first video that he says the government should not be involved in determining what is or is not a church.  Unfortunately, in order to give churches the favorable treatment, it is necessary to define them.  Creation Science Evangelism was not a church, although it would not have had any trouble establishing itself as tax-exempt if Kent had chosen the compliance route that his son Eric has chosen.

That is why I don't doubt his sincerity, He is certainly not being clever.  As he relates it he got the idea for filing the lis pendens from a real estate genius, who was also his cell mate. It reminded me of when I was taking the CPA exam and people who had taken the exam many times were offering me advice.  Other than information about the best restaurants near the exam site, I didn't think they had a lot worthwhile to offer.  Gee Kent you took advice from you cell mate and it got you in even more trouble and you're surprised.

Still stupid and stubborn isn't criminal, which makes me want Kent to not get any more time and I'm glad to see that his public defender, who everybody seems to think is pretty good, is putting on a conventional defense for him.

Peter J Reilly CPA has been covering the trials of Kent Hovind since the fall of 2012.  Reilly's hopes of being the first tax blogger to give up his day job keep growing dimmer, but he will never give up.


  1. Kent is probably NOT sincere in his belief that he has not broken any laws and has paid all the taxes that he owes.

    That's a point on which Peter and I part company, among other non-fatal matters involving Kent Hovind.

    On the substantive issues I think we are pretty much agree and that's one reason the feds are paying us to do what we do......Not!

    1. IRS attorney and child stalker.... nobody agrees with you... The IRS is the most hated, evil and corrupt agency in America....

      You are an idiot... face the fact that everyone wants Kent Hovind free and they want to Abolish your agency...

    2. Kent's Kult of whiners has stalked me here yet again, and again I have no accuser to face me and deal with the allegations!

      And they wonder why the general public and mainstream media doesn't give them much, if any, consideration.


    3. Some might even recall how the Kent Kult advertised that it would be using the certain "Cause Stalking" techniques.

      The above anonymous posting reflects such a technique; anything to avoid dealing with Kent's legal problems and instead attempt to attack critics in an effort to "identify, villify and destroy" the opposition.

      It's an interesting tactic to watch the Kent Kult deploy.

      I think it was in one of Rudy's videos yesterday that I heard one of the Kent Kult leaders command the troops to go everyone on the Internet and do just what the anonymous whiner has done here.

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  3. I don't get how you get to the idea that Kent Hovind ought to be freed, Peter.

    Hovind makes it clear he admits to no crime, will admit no culpability. He has made it clear that he will likely continue the same criminal activity. He did commit more crime while still in jail, seeking to evade a healthy part of the criminal sentence to recover some of his criminally structured funds. And as you've vaguely noted, he's done nothing to pay his personal income taxes and shows no signs he will do so at this point...or that he will become conventionally tax compliant if he gets out.

    In many ways, letting him get away with his more recent crimes will make of him a hero amongst the folks who would do likewise, AND the folks who would do worse (sovcits). Aren't criminal sentences made to both punish bad behavior AND to warn others away from doing likewise?

    Just what would it take for you to believe Kent Hovind deserves to be back in prison? Anything to do with tax compliance? Is white collar crime kind of fluffy not-so-bad...iffy to prosecute after 10 (8+) years in the can? Is it so even when clearly no lesson has been learned and the criminal thinking/behavior seems incorrigible, has continued?

    Please help me understand in much greater detail than I've seen from you so far.

    What is the upside with letting Kent get away with the further crimes he's committed, one of which he's been convicted of and three more that are being re-tried after a hung jury, possibly encouraged by the jury nullification antics of the Hovindicators?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. And please don't let the caliber of some supporters of Kent appearing here tempt you to discount the the damage an unrepentant Hovind set loose on the country can do. Keep in mind, he and Jo ineffectively renounced their U.S. citizenship and not all of his supporters are entirely too stupid to be dangerous.

    2. I think one of the main differences between me and other people who follow this case is the amount of tax litigation that I read. Kent Hovind has done more time per tax dollar avoided than most people who have done time. He backed off from promoting tax protesting relatively early in the game. The relative severity of his treatment gives an aura of plausibility to the religious persecution narrative and the movement may be sucking more people into sovereign citizen nuttery.

    3. Peter, Kent continues to persist in sovereign citizen nuttery and he does have authority among a certain crowd of people. It's not merely his tax stuff anymore, it's the fact that he's clogging up the legal system with his documents (a typical sovereign citizen dodge). Kent has also made it clear he's going to harass IRS agent Scott Schneider as much as he can. Kent's co-defendant, Paul Hansen, said he was going to send a subpoena to Schneider and if you've heard what are allegedly the contents, it's a stew of sovereign citizen crazy.

      I'm thinking the reason the government is expending so much energy on Kent has more to do with his sovereign citizen beliefs and his influence on others. Given how the government is treating sovcits these days, we can't discount this as the reason the hammer's coming down on Kent.

    4. That may be, but the case they are bringing strikes me as pretty thin. They could have stopped with the contempt conviction. Instead they are setting things up for a possible claim of victory by the sovs in this next trial. Kent is being prosecuted for taking really stupid legal advice. Contempt of court seems pretty solid. They obviously hold the courts in contempt. Fraud and conspiracy for stupid stuff done so openly seems like overkill.

      I'm going to go out on a limb and predict another hung jury and two years for Kent on the conviction 18 months for Hansen.

    5. Peter,

      Are you forgetting that Kent likes to exploit as much as possible the "Cheek Defense".

      You seem to be accepting of it in this case.

      Me, not so much!

      It might have been "stupid legal advice", but Kent was not simply an innocent who go misled by it,

      Kent likes to find someone who will tell him what he wants to hear when it comes to having any kind of reason for pursuing his "paper terrorism".

      What a hit when Matthews showed up in New Hampshire with that alleged lis pendens gimmick which was just the sort of thing Kent would pick up on (i.e., another paper to file even though Kent is charged with knowing full well that he had forfeited his rights to the property and had no legal basis for contesting any ownership interest).

      The lis pendens worked, and the Government was thwarted in its efforts to simply sell off the property.

      Kent should be held responsible for and pay the price for his criminal contempt, along with his co-conspirator Paul John Hansen, but the related criminal antics should also be punished accordingly (i.e., conspiracy and mail fraud).

      Maybe they will get hung up again; maybe not.

      I'm ready to get it over with and see Kent and Paul sent back to the Bureau of Prisons where they will not be able to spend all day broadcasting their sovcit propaganda.

      If they want to continue their "paper terrorism" with appeals and motions, that will be fine with me, as long as they do it from some federal confinement with limited outside contacts.

      Alternatively, to better understand what is going on with Kent Hovind, I still think a proper mental evaluation would be appropriate and helpful (not to excuse but to explain).

  4. I think Hovind is so caught up in the sovereign citizen narrative and, like other cargo cultists, is sure he will come up with the right combination of words which will spring him from jail. I flatly disagree on his sincerity. I believe Hovind is absolutely consumed with being *right* and that has taken over from rational thought.

    1. Dee, the gap between your two front teeth is louder and louder... This Sovereign Citizen nonsense is just that... nonsense... get a life little lady...

  5. Judge Barbara Crabb who handled my suit challenging IRC 107 did another masterful job in dealing with one of Kent's comrades:

    She described the sovcit as "strange" and "narcissistic". Sounds like she got that right!

    Like with Kent, his charges including obstruction!

    And there was this:

    - "Crabb told Bodley that she was disturbed
    - that he showed no remorse and talked others
    - into using his tactics.
    -- “You are a financial danger to the
    -- community and have the capacity
    -- to inflict emotional damage on a lot
    -- of people,”
    - Crabb said.


  6. I have to admit to being ambivalent about the prospects of Kent Hovind spending more time in jail. On one hand, there are already far, far too many people languishing in US prison--seven times the number of inmates found in Europe (per capita), which is a complete disgrace for a nation that prides itself on being the "Land of the Free"--and while Kent Hovind isn't even close to being the most deserving case for leniency, the length of his sentence and the continued prosecutions are a clear symptom of a system that is out of control and inflicting real harm on America.

    On the other hand, Hovind, Rudy, Ernie, and the rest of his cohorts make it extremely hard for me (or anyone who hasn't bought into his conspiracy theory) to wish that he be set free to continue his campaign to dumb down America, and give a victory (however hollow) to the sovereign citizen / tax protester movement.

    On balance, though, I think Peter has it about right. Tack on another year or two (at most) for contempt and leave it at that. Of course, the court's hands are tied if Kent doesn't wise up and serve out his sentence quietly and without interfering with the IRS's business.

  7. "Oddly enough, I don't doubt Hovind's sincerity. He is probably sincere in his belief that he has not broken any laws and has paid all the taxes that he owes. What he leaves out of the story is that he means he has not broken any laws that he thinks are valid and has paid all the taxes he thinks he owes."


    The trouble with this argument is that the very formulation of his claim "I have always paid every penny of the taxes I've owed" is insincere. He knows that many of his less informed supporters (which is most of them), will take that to mean he properly filed his taxes just like they do, implying that the IRS have gone out of their way to persecute and prosecute this perfectly law-abiding citizen.

    This is reinforced when he goes on to argue that what happened to him could happen to anyone who sometimes withdraws less than $10,000 from the bank (i.e. everyone).

    Finally, his repeated protestations that he is not a tax protester are entirely hollow. Again, he's studied the subject enough to know that his theories are exactly the same as those used by other tax protesters to claim they owe no taxes. There isn't a shred of daylight between them.

    Yes, I do believe he is a sincere as a sovereign citizen / tax protester, but his attempts to obscure the nature of those beliefs by disavowing the labels, twisting the facts, and lying by omission are thoroughly insincere -- more so than in many other examples of such foolishness.

    1. I'm pretty sure that is his "gish gallop" debating style at work. Once he decides that he is right then any rhetorical device he can come up with is fair game. Like the pedophile prosecutor and the "worst than rape" statement. Neither one have anything to do with his charges. On the other hand he is quick to point out he was never charged with tax evasion.

    2. Peter,

      I am not convinced that Kent has "decided he is right" which is also an issue that goes into the equation as far as evaluating your sympathies and opinion that he is sincere.

      As for the tax matters, I think Kent knows he is wrong as far as "we the people" legitimately decide such legal questions.

      I think that mental evaluation I have repeatedly suggested would help explain that to some extent.

      Kent, in my opinion, has simply and rhetorically converted his disagreements with the law into a claim that the law is not what the law is.

      I think Kent knows he is wrong as far as his line of argument, and he knows simply having a disagreement with the law doesn't get him or his causes anywhere like the sovcit strategy.

      I have concluded that Kent sincerely lies about the important, substantive details regarding his legal problems and what he really thinks about such things.

  8. Hey, Peter -- I know we can't prophesy the future -- nobody can. But I'm curious. What do you think Kent will do when he gets out of jail, which he quite likely will at some point? Do you think he will start paying his personal income taxes, whatever they legitimately are? Do you think he will pay off his 400K+ fines? Do you think he will pay off the money he and Jo were found responsible for in taxes and penalties in 2009? Do you think he will go forth and sin no more (so to speak)? Basically, do you think you've learned his lesson?

    1. Of course, I mean do you think Hovind's learned his lesson.

    2. The overarching question is whether Kent will give up his struggle with the legitimacy of the IRS. One issue is whether he would be willing to give up running his own show. If he just focused on "exposing the lie of evolution" and "prison reform" he could go on Eric's payroll as "Founding Genius" or whatever with a modest salary. Ernie Land indicated that a group of businessman want to back a large scale Dino Adventureland , but that conventional tax compliance on Kent's part would be part of the deal.

      There is a fairly elaborate due process system for people who owe more taxes than they can pay, which is Kent's situation with his three million plus deficiency. Kent could take advantage of that.

      At the moment I'm thinking that he might choose to continue getting into trouble. I don't think that he is capable of accepting a subordinate role which is probably the only way to stay our of trouble.

      I've heard some people speculate that he actually would prefer to stay in prison.

    3. And what do you suppose prison is for, beyond punishment for crimes committed? Do you see it as keeping people who demonstrably can't stop committing crimes behind bars where they cannot keep hurting society? And wouldn't denial that you've ever done anything "wrong" (illegal) be strong evidence for that?

  9. Robert Baty reports the remaining (hung jury) charges are being dropped without prejudice.