Posts Tagged ‘Hovind’

No Love for Dinosaur Land; the Hovinds Lose Their Appeal

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

I’ve written several times about the saga of Kent and Jo Hovind. The Hovinds are evangelists who formed Dinosaur Adventure Land, a theme park that mixed dinosaurs and the Bible. They also weren’t believers in the IRS, and used a combination of phony trusts, illegal structuring of transactions, and just not paying the IRS to avoid taxes. That led to a verdict against them in Tax Court, and was followed by Kent Hovind being found guilty of all 58 criminal counts he was accused of and Jo Hovind also being found guilty of criminal tax evasion. Mr. Hovind received 10 years at ClubFed while Mrs. Hovind received a year and a day. Additionally, $430,000 was forfeited to the US government.

They appealed their convictions and their sentences, and the 11th Circuit ruled on their appeal yesterday. Like the dinosaurs the Hovinds fared poorly. They lost on every one of their arguments and Mr. Hovind will be serving out his sentence.

As Judge Rogers put it when Mr. Hovind was convicted, “No one can violate the law and then say that they were doing so for the will of God.”

That’s a wrap on 2008. Have a safe and Happy New Year.

Hat Tip: TaxProf Blog

Will the IRS Re-Open Dinosaur Adventure Land?

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Jo Hovind fared much better than her husband when she was sentenced last week for 45 tax related charges. Her husband, Kent Hovind, received ten years in prison. Mrs. Hovind was sentenced to one year and a day, and will begin serving her sentence on August 31st. Mrs. Hovind will likely appeal both the convictions and the sentence.

The government got some other items as part of the conviction. Judge Casey Rodgers ordered that the property owned by the Hovinds was forfeited to the government. That includes the now defunct Dinosaur Adventure Land. Will the government reopen it? Will it join other intriguing government owned properties such as the Mustang Ranch and the Bicycle Casino? (For the record, the government sold off the buildings and other physical assets of the Mustang Ranch. The Bicycle Casino was owned by the government for a few years but was sold to private owners.)

Judge Rodgers delivered the moral of the story: “No one can violate the law and then say that they were doing so for the will of God.”

A Pinch of Fraud, and a Pound of Evasion

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

I haven’t done a megapost with a bunch of tax schemers in some time. So before I head off to dinner, here’s some fraud and evasion to munch on.

Lots of people have been filing false tax returns lately. The IRS doesn’t appreciate it. These individuals worked for a shoe retailer, and allegedly came up with a nice way to make extra money: submit 107 false tax returns totaling about $250,000 in refunds. They apparently needed the money quickly, as they used Refund Anticipation Loans to instantly get their money. They’re looking at spending a few years at ClubFed.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has asked that a court issue an injunction barring a Georgia tax preparer from preparing tax returns and from selling “tax schemes.” As this press release notes, Victor Carlysle Sullivan, Jr., of Albany, Georgia is accused of bilking the US out of around $5 million.

Last year I reported on nursing home operator Jack Easterday. He was convicted on 47 counts of tax evasion. What I didn’t know was that his conviction was tossed out due to a faulty jury instruction. He’s going to be retried in March. The IRS has added 62 new charges to his trial; he’s now accused of not paying over $10 million in payroll taxes he collected from his employees. He’s looking at a substantial stay at ClubFed if found guilty.

A Newberg, Oregon man made lots of money selling mail-order divorces. He “forgot” to claim them on his tax return. The IRS didn’t forget to catch up to him. William Cleveland Thompson pleaded guilty to evading taxes from 1993 to 1995 (he last filed a tax return in 1992). As this story notes, he’ll be visiting ClubFed.

I again ask, what is it about strip clubs that attract tax cheats to them? Maybe it’s that the businesses have lots of cash, and the owners wonder what will happen if they just don’t report it. Well, that’s allegedly what the owners of Dangerous Curves in the Tacony section of Philadelphia did. Their accountant prepared false tax returns enabling them to get loans. Then, an investigation of a councilman (now imprisoned) put the focus on their club. To top it off, some of the employees said that they were paid in cash (a total of about $1.4 million) that wasn’t reported to the IRS. All involved are looking at three years at ClubFed plus restitution if convicted. You can read more here.

Remember Charles Lanza, of Wolcoot, CT? He had a new take on “Bowling for Dollars,”—”Skimming for Dollars” as I earlier reported. He lucked out though, and was sentenced to just six months in prison (sentencing guidelines indicated he should receive about three years) due to poor health.

Finally, remember the Florida evangelist who had the dinosaur theme park? Kent Hovind, aka “Dr. Dino,” will enjoy ten years at ClubFed. As this story notes, Hovind believes that dinosaurs and humans walked the earth together but didn’t believe you had to send employment taxes to the government. As the judge sentencing Hovind noted, “[he refused] to accept what the law is.” He’ll have plenty of time to pray about it. His wife will be sentenced in March.

US 58, Hovind 0

Monday, November 6th, 2006

Since we’re still in football season, I thought it would be appropriate to report this story in that format. As I reported earlier, Hovind was accused of 58 counts of tax fraud and related charges. Last Thursday he was found guilty on all 58 charges. He could get 288 years, and will definitely have to forfeit $430,400.

Hovind’s wife, Jo, was also found guilty on all the charges she was accused of. Her 44 guilty verdicts could earn her 225 years in prison. Unlike her husband, she was released until sentencing in early January.

A friend of the Hovinds, Richard Hogan, gave the Pensacola News-Journal some of the best advice I’ve ever seen when you have a dispute with the IRS: “It’s pretty tough to fight Goliath…The first time the IRS calls, you should go ahead and deal with it. It didn’t have to come down to this.”

Hovind Pleads Not Guilty; Dinosour Land Defunct

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Kent Hovind, who we wrote about last week, has pled not guilty to 58 counts (mainly tax fraud). His trial was set for September 5th. Hovind claims he’s employed by God; among the charges are violations of bank reporting requirements on the withdrawal of over $400,000.

We’re also sad to report that the same news story reports that Dinosaur Adventure Land has gone the way of the dinosaurs. The web site is still working, though.

The Week in Tax Crime

Friday, July 14th, 2006

While I scampered about on my recent trip, plenty of tax crooks were being led away. Here’s the weekly update:

As reported last week, bad news is piling up for Kent Hovind. After his defeat in Tax Court, he found himself behind bars—he was arrested and charged with 58 charges, including tax evasion. His wife was indicted on 44 charges. Their indictment is set for Monday. (News story here.)

A Memphis man has been convicted of failing to file tax returns and tax evasion charges. Billy Severence didn’t file his 1990 – 1993 taxes. For 1991 through 1993, he was convicted on felony tax evasion charges. Severence could face 19 years in prison, though a sentence of 3 to 5 years is more likely. (News Story here.)

James Hubb, who faced eight years in prison for his tax fraud conviction, was sentenced to 18 months and fined $10,000. He must also make restitution and pay back taxes. Hubb paid personal expenses from his business, and did not accurately report the transactions on his tax returns. We reported on Hubb’s conviction here. You can read about Hubb’s sentencing here.

Thankfully, the tax crime blog was fairly light this week. And that’s a good thing.

A Dinosaur Won’t Help (Nor Will Phony Trusts)

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

If all we had to do to avoid paying taxes was form our own church, with just our own family as the congregation, wouldn’t we do it? And if we could just declare that John and Jane form a “trust” that is exempt from taxation, we’d do that too, right?

There’s a problem with this, of course: such schemes are illegal. A church needs to be real; a trust needs to have a reason for existence. Purveyors of phony trusts are regular targets of IRS enforcement activities, and the Tax Court is not amused by their activities.

Today, the Tax Court looked at Kent Hovind, who allegedly formed a religious ministry in Florida. He also formed Dinosaur Adventure Land, a theme park in Florida. According to its website, “It is run by Creation Science Evangelism, the world-changing ministry of Dr. Kent Hovind who travels internationally speaking (and debating) on the Creation vs. Evolution controversy.”

Mr. Hovind did not file or pay income tax in 1995, 1996, or 1997. His organizational structure is, according to the Tax Court, “…based on various questionable trust documents purchased from Glenn Stoll, a known promoter of tax avoidance schemes.” Mr. Stoll was barred in 2005 from promoting his scheme.

In any case, the IRS sent demand notices to Mr. Hovind. They served him through certified mail, and even in person. The IRS made jeopardy assessments against Mr. Hovind. Mr. Hovind didn’t contest them. The IRS served Mr. Hovind with a lien notice; Mr. Hovind didn’t contest it. And when the IRS sent Mr. Hovind the notice of the filing of the tax lien, Mr. Hovind returned it, writing on the notice, “Refused for fraud.” The Tax Court case decided today was whether the IRS’s levy actions were appropriate given the jeopardy assessments.

Unfortunately for Mr. Hovind, he didn’t contest either the original demand notice or the notice of the filing of a tax lien. And that’s a big problem, because:

Petitioner actually had two opportunities (upon receipt of the Lien Notice — which receipt petitioner does not dispute — and upon receipt of the notice of deficiency) to challenge the existence and amount of his 1995, 1996, and 1997 Federal income tax liabilities. Under section 6330(c)(2)(B) petitioner may not now, in this proceeding involving respondent’s proposed levy action, dispute the amounts of his underlying Federal income taxes and additions to tax for 1995, 1996, and 1997.

So Mr. Hovind’s trusts join the dinosaurs, relics of the past. But his tax liabilities aren’t relics, as interest keeps accruing. And the levy goes forward.

Case: Hovind v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2006-143