The Rev. Kent Hovind Reporting Blog

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Evangelist convicted of tax fraud

Evangelist convicted of tax fraud

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - Jurors convicted a Pensacola evangelist who founded Pensacola's defunct Dinosaur Adventure Land theme park on 58 counts of tax fraud.

Kent Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism, was accussed of failing to pay $845,000 in employee taxes at the dinosaur theme park, an amusement park that exposed visitors to Hovind and his followers' view that human and dinosaurs coexisted and that evolution did not occur.

Hovind, who faces a maximum of 288 years in prison, was taken into custody Thursday evening after the jury read its verdict.

Hovind's wife, Jo Hovind, was convicted on 44 of the counts involving evading bank-reporting requirements. She faces up to 225 years in prison but was allowed to remain free pending the couple's sentencing on Jan. 9, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

"Nobody likes to pay taxes," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer said in closing arguments. "We do because it's the law, and he is not above the law."

Kent Hovind's attorney, Alan Richey, had argued that the Internal Revenue Service pursued his client because of his religious beliefs.

Kent Hovind claimed he and his employees were workers of God and therefore exempt from paying taxes. He paid his employees in cash and did not withhold their taxes or pay his share as an employer.


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