Regulation  

Two more jailed for film tax dodge

Two more jailed for film tax dodge

Two more people have joined the group of film producers, financial advisers, accountants and investment bankers to be jailed over a £2.2m tax dodging scheme.

Christopher Walsh Atkins, 40, and Christina Slater, 37, were jailed for five years and four years respectively at Southwark Crown Court on Friday (1 July) for their involvement in a scheme which involved claiming false tax rebates linked to investments in film-making partnerships.

The partnerships claimed to have spent £5.7m and made significant financial losses on two UK film projects, ‘Starsuckers’ and ‘Mercedes the Movie’.

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These artificial losses enabled the wealthy investors to falsely claim back around £40,000 in tax relief for every £20,000 they had invested.

Walsh Atkins, of London, and Slater, of Leamington Spa, were two independent film producers - convicted of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, theft and fraud - whose role was to circulate money and produce falsely inflated invoices.

Five others were jailed last year as part of the investigation, which involved more than 100 officers from HMRC.

Simon York, director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, called it an audacious attempt, motivated by the pure greed of dishonest and wealthy individuals.

“The majority of those involved in this fraud had no interest in the film industry, or regard for the impact of their criminality on honest taxpayers.

“After painstaking and complex work from our investigators, and a series of long trials, HMRC has dismantled the fraudulent operation, and shown that we have the intent and capability to bring criminals to justice regardless of their resources.”

HMRC identified a series of suspicious tax rebate claims which investigators discovered had originated from two fraudulent tax avoidance schemes set up and managed by Monaco-based accountant Terence Potter, 56.

The claims were supported by false documents produced by Potter, who has since been convicted of one count of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and pleaded guilty to three further counts of the same charge, being sentenced to eight years in prison for each count, to be served concurrently.

Potter was assisted by IFA Neil Williams-Denton, 42, of Greater Manchester, who promoted the schemes to high earning investment bankers.

Williams-Denton, an adviser with Greystones Financial Services at the time of his arrest, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and then found guilty on a second count.

He was sentenced to six years in prison for each count to be served concurrently.

Three investment bankers, Phillip Jenkins, 51, James Hyde, 43, and Hamish MacLellan 43, were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, and sentenced to 13 and half years in prison, collectively.