Fake film-makers sentenced for £6m tax fraud

A gang of four people with ties to the creative industries who pretended to make Bollywood-style movies were last week sentenced for a £6million VAT and film tax credits fraud.

Anish Anand, sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, Amit Kumar, Afsana Karim and Sanjeev Mirajkar made bogus claims for the films, which were never made or whose title had been stolen.

Sentenced in Croydon Crown Court, the four deceived HM Revenue & Customs by submitting false paperwork and bank statements which, collectively, appeared to show they had spent millions of pounds on producing the films.

In fact, HMRC found that £4.4m had been claimed by the gang, whose backgrounds include video editing, wedding photography and fashion, in addition to a further claim of £1.7m, which failed.

The four denied their involvement in the fraud – the proceeds of which were sent offshore – but were found guilty after a trial. An arrest warrant was also issued for Anand because the 32-year-old absconded.

HMRC reminded that film tax relief is only available to legitimate film-makers for British films that are intended to be shown commercially in cinemas and where at least 25% of total production costs relate to activities in the UK.

One of the gang’s productions was entitled ‘Billy,’ an animated story of a Beagle dog escaping to London Zoo to undertake a journey of self-discovery in the UK capital, but it was never made.

 

6th August 2013

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