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Victory for HMRC in film fraud case

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HMRC has won a case involving a ‘complex and organised VAT fraud’ committed by film producer Richard Driscoll, who wrote and directed the first modern British film to be shot in 3D, Eldorado.

According to HMRC, Driscoll ‘falsified invoices for the costs of making films in order to reclaim VAT back that he was not entitled to and set up a number of associated companies that were used purely to commit the crime.’ Driscoll, who owned a film studio in Cornwall, made VAT claims for repayment of £1.5m based on production costs of more than £9m. Investigators found that the costs were actually less than £1m, and that bogus invoices were sent to support the false repayment claims. Other invoices were genuine, but had their values inflated.

HMRC’s Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation, Paul Barton, said, ‘HMRC investigators have unravelled a complex and organised VAT fraud. Driscoll knew that he was breaking the law, yet chose to overlook it for the opportunity of making what he wrongly assumed would be easy money, at the expense of the UK taxpayer. Tax fraud is a serious offence and HMRC will continue to seek out those who attempt to commit these crimes and bring them to justice.’