Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Kent Hovind's Battle With IRS - Collateral Damage

This post was originally published on Forbes Jul 10, 2015

Kent Hovind returned to Pensacola this week.  He will be serving the last month of the sentence from his 2006 conviction in home confinement before beginning a three-year period of supervised release.  There will be a homecoming party July 11.  You're invited and can check here for details. My hunch is that Doctor Hovind's neighbor, Anthony Jaworski might not be leading the welcome wagon.  In Kent Hovind's decades-long battle with the IRS, Anthony Jaworski is one person who got caught in the cross-fire.  Here is the story or stories if you will.

The Hovind Narrative

The Hovind narrative is that Kent Hovind has never broken any laws and has paid all the taxes that he owed.  Thuglike IRS agents raided his property and trumped up charges of structuring, systematically withdrawing slightly less than $10,000 from the bank in order to avoid currency reporting.  The Hovind narrative pretty much starts with the 2006 prosecution vaguely indicating that before that Kent Hovind had asked the IRS to explain to him if he was doing anything wrong and that tax professionals had examined his operations and assured him that everything was hunky-dory.  The government is seeking to silence Doctor Hovind who has been so effective in exposing the lie of evolution.
Among the outcomes of the 2006 trial was the forfeiture of over $400,000 in structured funds.  Since the funds had been spent, property owned by trusts which were viewed as Kent Hovind's alter ego was seized.

Hovind and his co-defendant, Creation Science Evangelism trustee, Paul Hansen took steps to protect the properties, since they believed that the seizure would ultimately be reversed.  Those steps were what gave rise to this years trial for mail fraud, conspiracy and contempt of court.  The jury did not reach a verdict on most of the more serious charges but found both Hovind and Hansen guilty of contempt. The government ultimately did not proceed with retrial.   Hovind's contempt conviction was dismissed by Judge Rodgers, but Hansen is still awaiting sentencing.

Anthony Jaworski purchased one of the trust properties from the federal government.  Kent Hovind has expressed some sympathy for him, since Kent expects to regain the property.  Paul Hansen had, apparently unbeknownst to Kent Hovind, sent Jaworski a letter warning him that he did not really have good title to the property and was obligated to pay the trust rent. The letter was used as evidence at the trial and Jaworski was called to testify.

A Fuller Story

What is left out of the Hovind narrative is Kent Hovind's video in which he indicates that he has not filed an individual tax return in twenty-eight years and did not believe most people were required to file, his pre-2006 litigation which included a bankruptcy filing to get out from under tax debt and suits against IRS agents who seized property and were attempting to investigate his financial dealings.  The picture you get there is of someone who embraced what were then called "tax protester" theories and actively resisted IRS efforts to assess and collect tax.

In other words, it's about the taxes, not the dinosaurs.

Jaworski A Victim

Whichever of the two narratives you accept Mr. Jaworksi is a victim - either of government deception in that he bought property that did not legitimately belong to the government or of what is, perhaps hyperbolically, referred to as sovereign citizen "paper terrorism".  Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media interviewed Jaworski who tells a very sad story.

Rudy Davis has given a review that is slightly more than twice as long as Jonathan's video.

The Practical Takeaway

Regardless of what you think about the legitimacy of the tax system, buying seized real estate from the United States is fraught with peril.  There is probably a decent chance that whoever it was seized from will think that they got a raw deal and if their neighbors are sympathetic, you might have some difficulty fitting into the neighborhood.  That seems to be the essence of Mr. Jaworski's difficulties.

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