Film tax schemers hit with prison sentences worth more than 36 years

 
Hayley Kirton
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Two film producers became the final two people to be sentenced as part of the scheme (Source: Getty)

An HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigation into a film tax scheme concluded late last week with a final set of sentences bring the total jail time for those involved to more than 36 years.

The scheme, which HMRC states would have cheated the system of £2.2m had it gone ahead as planned, involved false claims of rebates for film production.

Film producers Christopher Walsh Atkins, 40, and Christina Slater, 37, became the last two people to be sentenced for their involvement in the scheme last week.

Atkins and Slater, who HMRC accused of circulating the money in the scheme and producing falsely inflated invoices, were sentenced to five years and four years in prison respectively. Both have also been disqualified from acting as company officials for the next 12 years.

"This was an audacious attempt to defraud HMRC and was motivated by the pure greed of dishonest and wealthy individuals," said Jennie Granger, director general, enforcement and compliance at HMRC. "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."

Accountant Terence Potter, 56, and independent financial advisor Neil Williams-Denton, 42, were sentenced last year to eight years and six years in prison respectively for their role in the scheme.

Meanwhile, three investment bankers, Phillip Jenkins, 51, James Hyde, 43, and Hamish MacLellan, 43, were sentenced to four and a half years in prison each.

Four other bankers alleged to have been involved in the scheme were found not guilty following a retrial in December.

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