Four men have been sentenced to a total of 29 years imprisonment for their role in an elaborate tax fraud involving the funding of UK film productions. The defendants dishonestly claimed losses had been made so that income tax could be falsely claimed back from HMRC.
Keith Hayley, Robert Bevan, Anthony Savill and Norman Leighton were convicted of conspiracy to cheat at Birmingham Crown Court. Tax reliefs are available to UK investors in film productions and the defendants took advantage to make fraudulent claims.
In return for making payments to Limited Liability Partnership investors were to receive a share of any loss incurred during production, which they could offset against other income. Losses were inflated and therefore significant gains made by claiming tax relief.
Naheed Hussain, Deputy Head of the Specialist Fraud Division at the CPS said: “These men used a scheme designed to boost the British economy and stole money from the public purse.
“The CPS will now take steps to recover the criminal assets in this case.”
Keith Hayley, Robert Bevan, Anthony Savill and Norman Leighton devised the scheme which was sold on to investors by independent financial advisors.
The scheme worked by investors paying money into an LLP in the form of a long term loan. The scheme was marketed as funding the British film industry, however the scheme was designed to fail and the investors were able to offset their “losses” against other taxable earnings.
Details of the charges:
Keith Hayley, Robert Bevan and Charles Savill were each sentenced to nine years imprisonment, whilst Norman Leighton was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment (suspended)