Despite a million-dollar business and speaking engagement earnings of nearly $50,000 a year, Pensacola evangelists Kent and Jo Hovind did not count the money as income.
Jo Hovind even filed for financial assistance from Baptist Healthcare for her medical bills.
Special IRS Agent Scott Schneider testified Monday that the couple denied that they had any income in numerous documents.
“Dr. and Mrs. Kent Hovind do not earn salaries,” wrote Martha Harris, the trust secretary of Creation Science Evangelism to Baptist. “As health insurance is not provided for this couple, we would appreciate (financial assistance.)”
The trial, which began on Oct. 17 but was on a one-week hiatus until Monday, is expected to go to the jury for deliberation Thursday. The prosecution is expected to rest its case today.
The Hovinds are accused of tax evasion, including failure to pay $473,818 in employee-related taxes at their Creation Science Evangelism Ministry, which includes Dinosaur Adventure Land on North Palafox Street.
Kent Hovind, a tax protester, makes a substantial amount of money. Schneider testified that in 2002, the ministry sold more than $1.8 million in Christian merchandise. But Hovind believes he and his employees work for God, are paid by God and, therefore, aren’t subject to taxation.
Schneider, who was on the stand for nearly eight hours on Monday, testified that Kent Hovind was confrontational and uncooperative. On Hovind’s radio show aired over the Internet, the evangelist prayed that something would stop the agents’ investigation.
“We took it seriously and were aware of our own personal safety,” Schneider said.
Schneider also testified that Hovind refused to provide tax information to churches that paid him for speaking.
Schneider said the Hovinds wrote checks to their children from their Creation Science Evangelism account. They also withdrew money from that account for cashier’s checks.
On one day, a $9,000 check was issued for their son, Eric. That same day, another $9,000 check was issued for Eric’s wife, Tanya.