What is Kent Hovind doing with his time in prison?


I know you’re all wondering that, since he’ll be getting out in August 2015. We know he’s been talking to God, who has been reassuring him that he’s wonderful and right and unjustly imprisoned, but he’s also planning lawsuits for the instant he gets out (pdf), with at least one already planned against RationalWiki.

So if you’ve been publicly accusing Kent Hovind of being a tax fraud, you might want to brace yourself — as soon as he’s released from prison, where he’s been serving a sentence for tax fraud, he’s going to be looking for opportunities to fix his reputation by dragging people who have accused him of tax fraud into court to complain about being called a tax fraud. It could be fun!

At least it’ll be a change from his usual habit of lying to children.

Comments

  1. says

    RationalWiki sysadmin here. We have very little fear about the lawsuit, mostly we’re worried about well-wishers knocking the system over ;-) We are reconfiguring the site as I write this – if it vanishes, please wait 5 minutes and try again.

    We expect the suit will cost a small amount of money and annoyance. We’re a 501(c)3 charity by the way, hint hint ;-)

    The most annoying bit is that the RWF board will have to put actual effort into thinking about lawyering up for future problematic cranks. Sigh.

  2. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    I hereby publicly accuse Kent Hovind of being a tax fraud.

    Additionally, he is evil.

  3. raven says

    I’m sure he will start his Let’s shake more money out of the xians operations up again.

    There is big money to be made out of pandering to fundie xians. And Ken Ham has been busy cutting into Hovind’s market why he is in prison.

    I”m sure many have already seen where the Ham sold his $45 million in bonds for his Big Boat Genocide park.

  4. chigau (違う) says

    I am Spartacus publicly accuse Kent Hovind of being a tax fraud.
    And just a general, all-around fraud.

  5. raven says

    We have very little fear about the lawsuit,

    Hovind’s history in court is in your favor. The fact that he lost and spent years in prison should tell you how competent he is.

    It’s SLAPP suit time again!!!Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation.

    Don’t know which state Rationalwiki is in. Many states are anti-SLAPP suit states. Try to get the filing in an anti-SLAPP suit state and in federal court, necessary if you and Hovind are in different states anyway. Loser pays court costs and your attorney fees and Hovind will lose.

    We’re a 501(c)3 charity by the way, hint hint ;-)

    If he really files and there is a court case, I’m in for a few bucks.

    Defending Rationalwiki = a few bucks per person
    Poking Hovind with a stick = Priceless

  6. anuran says

    Blood and shite and sixty seven severed cocks

    Not Hovind-related but still a Creationist crime….
    It looks like the Ham-on-Nye “debate” raised enough money for the Ark Park to go forward

    “It did help,” Ham said of the Feb. 4 debate. “We obviously had a big spurt toward the end, and I think it was people who were involved in this, who really decided they were going to do something.”

    Groundbreaking was set for May, and the religious theme park is expected to be completed by summer 2016.

    Nye, who has been highly critical of creationist teaching, said he was disappointed that the project would move forward and offered his hope that it “goes out of business.”

    “If he builds that ark, it’s my strong opinion [that] it’s bad for the commonwealth of Kentucky and bad for scientists based in Kentucky and bad for the U.S.,” Nye said. “And, I’m not joking, bad for the world.”

    Ham declined to offer details about bond investors, but he said his group had “generous supporters around the country” – although he noted that private donations had not increased noticeably following the debate.

    Bill Nye, if you didn’t want this to happen you shouldn’t have helped.

    But there’s still hope. At least the Hamster is still refusing any kind of transparency about the project’s finances.

  7. Rich Woods says

    The infamous tax fraudster, Kent Hovind, is more than welcome to sue me: the legal bill for the extradition proceedings alone should bankrupt him. Although I’m pretty sure the UK-US extradition treaty doesn’t cover civil suits anyway.

  8. timberwoof says

    I liked the part where he complained that being called a Young Earth Creationist damages his reputation.

  9. moarscienceplz says

    Ah, another Christian loving his enemies and turning the other cheek, I see.
    Strange how a “literal interpretation” of the Bible seems so often to skip over those parts.

  10. Olav says

    Anuran #8:

    It looks like the Ham-on-Nye “debate” raised enough money for the Ark Park to go forward

    I would answer that with a heartfelt whatever. So let them build the bloody park. What real difference is it going to make? It is not as if they would stop propagandising if the park could not be built or something.

    I think Mr. Nye did very well with that debate. Even though it wasn’t a debate of course, since there was no proper opponent.

  11. says

    If he does sue, I doubt he’ll survive a motion for summary judgment. For one thing, he’s a public figure, so he has a tougher burden of proof than some ordinary idiot. Second, and more important I think, since he was found guilty in a criminal case for tax fraud, he MUST be deemed to have committed tax fraud by any court hearing his suit (the issue cannot be re-litigated, at least not in a civil suit). And since you CANNOT commit defamation if what you say is true–it’s over almost as soon as it started.

  12. Amphiox says

    Actually it is in fact a GOOD thing to let Ham build his park with a one-time cash infusion. If the park is fundamentally financially unsound (as it appears to be), then giving him a one-time infusion to let him proceed merely traps him into a longer term financial sink hole, and deludes him into wasting more resources on the effort.

  13. johnlee says

    I vote that if Ken Ham ever finishes his ark, that we force him, Hovind and half a dozen or so other religious cranks to board it, along with two of a kind of every animal we can lay our hands on, and set them adrift in the pacific for a few months.
    If they start calling for help, we can just tell them to pray harder.

  14. says

    For the curious, Mr Hovind (or, to use his proper academic title, Mr Hovind) has cost us a grand total of $87 so far, for the new server we quickly spun up to handle load. This is the donation page, and if you’re liable for US taxes it’s deductible. (Assuming links like this are acceptable to our gracious host.) Our expenses are minimal as we have no paid staff as yet. We’ll probably have to speak to a real lawyer at some point, though.

    What we’d really like is for people to read our stuff, contribute to the content, argue with us, and make the world a better place for joined-up thinking. A lot of RationalWiki’s content is really good and informative, a lot more of it is … not so great and needs polishing up. Please do write stuff, add references, stick around for the discussion.

    [Status of me using the word “we”: I’m an active contributor on the wiki. I’m one of the two volunteer sysadmins, and I ran for the 2014 Board but the 2013 Board is still the current one, so my words are not official. I’m speaking here as a community member and also as a sysadmin.]

  15. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    If he does sue, I doubt he’ll survive a motion for summary judgment.

    Unfortunately, we’ll probably never see the day when scum who file SLAPPs don’t survive the summary judgment.

  16. Owlmirror says

    I don’t suppose it’s really relevant to the case, but I still remember this, so:

    Back before Scienceblogs blew up the old comment system, there were one or two threads that attracted comments from Hovind supporters. There was the complaint that the “structured payments” conviction was like convicting someone for driving the speed limit.

    My counterargument was that that was the analogy was not quite right. I wrote that that it was more like the target had a radar detector and so was always driving the speed limit when radar guns were used, but that in addition, careful time checks at specific points showed that the target must have been speeding between those points in order to get between the points in the times recorded.

    Not sure it’s really that important. Kent Hovind is a convicted tax fraud regardless of what I have to say about it.

  17. jimmyfromchicago says

    Hovind’s claim, as far as I can make it out, is that the legal documents in his case don’t describe what he did as fraud. Also, although he doesn’t say it, he wasn’t actually charged with or convicted of tax fraud, which could refer to one of several crimes–but usually refers to 26 USC 7207, fraudulent returns or statements–although none of the ones he is in prison for. He was convicted of failing to collect and pay over employment taxes (claiming that his employees were actually independent contractors) and structuring withdrawals from his bank account to be just less than $10,000 (to avoid the reporting requirements that would kick in at that amount).

    However, his actions that gave rise to these convictions were deceitful and intended to evade his taxes, so they could colloquially be called “tax fraud.”

    His Wikipedia article makes interesting reading.

  18. jimmyfromchicago says

    Oh, and as for the speed-limit analogy, that doesn’t really work. What Hovind did with the smurfing is more like failing to register your car because you’re going to use it for a bank robbery.

  19. says

    @30 – it is true that “Berlin Federal Prison Camp” is possibly the greatest return address ever given on a complaint of libel over being called a “fraud”.

  20. says

    At least he didn’t accuse RW of “suborning of false muster”. I’ll let our legal eagles (Catshark, are you out there?) comment on whether this filing is any more competent than Hovind’s previous legal comedies.

    And I particularly like “plaintif has experienced further loss to his reputation”. *snort* Among everyone but his mindless followers, Kent’s reputation long ago sank to the very bottom of the deepest latrine in the US.

  21. says

    What I’m really wondering is what will happen in the Hovind clan once Kent gets out. Eric has been running things while daddy was behind bars and has probably gotten used to being in charge by now. Is he going to be okay with stepping down and letting pops back in the driver’s seat? Alternatively, is Kent going to gracefully accept that his time is over and let sonny-boy stay in control?

    I honestly have no idea how their family dynamics are, but given how authoritarian most fundies are, I wonder if they’ll be able to play nice. Are we going to see court battles and accusations fly as they fight for control? It wouldn’t be the first time a religious organization split over the question of succession.

    Buy your tickets now, kids, and remember the popcorn.

  22. joe_k says

    Since libel in US law requires that the plaintiff have suffered a loss of reputation, even if what one said about Hovind were not true, he’d still lose the suit, surely? :P

  23. David Marjanović says

    I liked the part where he complained that being called a Young Earth Creationist damages his reputation.

    wuuut

    Buy your tickets now, kids, and remember the popcorn.

    + 1

  24. anuran says

    @13 Olav

    I would answer that with a heartfelt whatever. So let them build the bloody park. What real difference is it going to make? It is not as if they would stop propagandising if the park could not be built or something.

    Did you skip past the part where they mentioned $62,000,000 plus interest in new taxpayer money is backing this? That’s tens of millions stolen from schools, roads, sewers, mental health services, small business development, firefighting or libraries

  25. robro says

    Perhaps Kent sees it in typical Christian semantic acrobatics: You’re calling him a “tax fraud.” While he was accused, convicted, and sentenced for committing acts of tax fraud, that doesn’t make him a tax fraud. So, please, just refrain from calling him a tax fraud, just say he was “convicted of tax fraud.” See, easy peasy.

    Plus, he was wrongly convicted, and everybody knows it. All tax frauds are wrongly convicted, I’m sure. So, in the trial god will show the judge the truth, Kent will be exonerated, get rich off of little organizations like RWF, the poor will be raised up, and all the bad people will be punished cause that’s what god does for his chosen one(s).

  26. says

    Considering RationalWiki has not yet been served with official notice of the suit, just how did they happen to find out about in opposition to Kent Hovind’s announced intentions to keep it under wraps?

    I think I know! :o)

  27. dhall says

    #18 – “I vote that if Ken Ham ever finishes his ark, that we force him, Hovind and half a dozen or so other religious cranks to board it, along with two of a kind of every animal we can lay our hands on, and set them adrift in the pacific for a few months.
    If they start calling for help, we can just tell them to pray harder.”

    Not the animals. That would constitute cruelty to animals.

  28. elrondhubbard says

    It isn’t slander if it’s true. Kent Hovind is a tax fraud. And an “in general” fraud. Basically if his lips are moving or if he’s awake, you know he is trying to lie to you.

  29. says

    Hovind could be out much sooner than August 2015. He’s already been informed that he’ll likely be released to home confinement in February 2015, and he’s petitioning to be sent home in August this year, since the regulations allow up to a year of home confinement at the end of a sentence.

    I honestly have no idea how their family dynamics are, but given how authoritarian most fundies are, I wonder if they’ll be able to play nice. Are we going to see court battles and accusations fly as they fight for control? It wouldn’t be the first time a religious organization split over the question of succession.

    I suspect not. Hovind junior has been a pretty staunch supporter of his father while he’s been in prison. There is also the issue of Kent Hovind’s criminal record, that is likely to be an impediment to his running the business, so he may be forced to be reconciled to the fact that he’ll be much better off letting his son maintain ownership of the business while he resumes his mission to dumb down America. He’ll still be well paid on the religious right speaking circuit anyway.

  30. says

    @42

    David,

    I look forward to confirming or denying my suspicions.

    I think it goes back to Dave Foda’s receipt of a copy of the Complaint last night, which he then posted to a RationalWiki page.

  31. robro says

    #18 — “…and set them adrift in the pacific for a few months…” Maybe a few days. Maybe not. That’s one reason he’s building it in the middle of a field in the middle of the continent. No danger of having to float anything, except the loans, which probably make the project lucrative enough for Ham-bone to keep it going for years to come. Didn’t it take Noah forever to build his ark? Ham can milk this one for a long time.

  32. says

    @44 – yeah, someone sent Dave the PDF. It’s important to note that we are not sure to legal standards that this is an actual court-filed document – hence the necessity of proper legal service before we can properly claim “help, we’re being sued!” – but he got it via someone who has some credibility and wouldn’t knowingly pass on made-up rubbish. For what that’s worth :-)

  33. says

    @44 – and I must note that I am totally not a lawyer, let alone an American lawyer! So anyone seeking to extract information from precise details of my wording is probably indulging in legal pareidolia.

  34. weatherwax says

    As for Hamm and his ark, groundbreaking in May is still several months away. I’d be interested to see if it actually happens, or if delays that require even more money pop up.

  35. anuran says

    @45 tacitus
    Only fines, beatings and executions are biblical?
    Fine, we’ll execute him by beating

  36. Rey Fox says

    Only fines, beatings, and executions should be allowed.

    Sorry Kent, we’re more civilized than that.

  37. jnorris says

    I don’t always accuse Kent Hovind of being a tax fraud, but when I do, my lawyers file countersuits.

  38. says

    This is commentary on a legal matter that is a legitimate news item, not legal advice for any particular situation, nor a solicitation or offer of representation, particularly as I’m not licensed in New Mexico or Florida.

    (1) Regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of Hovind’s cause of action, he loses on procedural grounds.
    (a) Lack of personal jurisdiction — Florida courts are skeptical about hauling defined-location out-of-state-but-in-the-US websites into Florida courts, and the US federal courts in Florida have to follow the same rules. Since there’s a defined location in New Mexico, that’s where it should have been filed.
    (b) Neither Florida nor New Mexico has particularly robust anti-SLAPP statutes (such as Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 425.16, and I’m afraid I really do have that citation memorized), so that won’t help; but….
    (c) Communications Decency Act § 230 (codified at 47 U.S.C. § 230) probably entirely insulates RationalWiki itself. It might not insulate particular posters.

    (2) The causes of action both fail.
    (a) The second alleged defamatory statement is the easiest. “Fraudster” is clearly not a term of legal art, but a colloquial reference… to a chapter that includes “Fraud” in the title of the chapter and among other offenses specifically prohibited in that chapter. As a matter of law regarding a public figure (and even regarding a non-public figure, ironically as this is the 50th anniversary year of New York Times v. Sullivan), this is simply not defamatory because it’s arguably true to the standard to which a nonlawyer would be held (and probably to the standard to which a lawyer or accountant would be held); whatever technical defects it may have are mere implication from something that sounds in a correct statement of fact.
    (b) The first one also fails. The order regarding the lis pendens claims was for improper filing. The caption on the government’s motion concerning those claims was for improper filing. Reading the motion (which is public record and easily available on PACER) demonstrates that the government’s position was that the claims were in furtherance of a scheme to commit tax fraud… and therefore themselves fraudulent, although that specific accusation is not made in the pleading because it doesn’t have to be.

    He who represents himself as plaintiff in a purportedly multimillion-dollar defamation matter has a fool for a client.

  39. Sili says

    Hello, my name is Kent Hovind. I am a creation/science evangelist. I live in Pensacola, Florida. I have been a high school science teacher since 1976. I’ve been very active in the creation/evolution controversy for quite some time.

    Thesis gold, that is.

  40. robro says

    According to Hovind in this interview, prisons are unbiblical (shocking, I know). Only fines, beatings, and executions should be allowed.

    Hello, Kent…ever read Ezra 7:26 — “Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.

    Took about 2 minutes to find that. My emphasis. Not only is Kent a tax fraud (so sue me), but a biblical fraud as well…oh, yeah, old news on that one.

    I’m betting it’s only unbiblical to put white preachers in prison. Blacks? Well now, that’s a different matter.

    anuran — I vote we fine him first, a lot, then maybe some of that other stuff.

  41. madscientist says

    I wonder if his submissions will even make it past the garbage can in the clerk’s office. “I was convicted of fraud and tax evasion, but I’m a-suin’ these folks for saying I’m a fraud and tax evader because I’m really not even though I’ve served time in prison for doing just that.”

  42. says

    Hello, Kent…ever read Ezra 7:26 — “Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.”

    Yeah, but that is from the Hebrew Bible so it only counts when you want it to count.

  43. Nick Gotts says

    Fine, we’ll execute him by beating – anuran@51

    Monitor note

    Please avoid anything that could possibly be construed by the most hostile and dishonest critic (e.g. Kent Hovind, Slymepitters) as a threat of violence, even when it’s actually obvious to the meanest intelligence that it’s a joke.

  44. maddogdelta says

    I’m sure Kent Hovind is spending his time in jail being completely heterosexual.

  45. Sili says

    I don’t think so. He just got his ‘degree’ from Pensacola University and Sewer Services.

  46. says

    The PDF link on rationalwiki.org is working again – Trent hadn’t set up the computer magickal stuff properly, but he has now, so both our web servers can see the file.

    (technical detail: we very quickly spun up the second box with a copy of the whole MediaWiki file tree. This is a bodge, so Trent just went back and set up the new server to mount the file tree off the old server via NFS. MediaWiki scales horizontally really nicely.)