AN investment banker has been jailed for his part in a plot to use the film industry to commit tax fraud.
Phillip Jenkins from Uckfield was sentenced to four and a half years in September for his part in the illegal schemes, but The Argus can only now report the outcome due to restrictions.
The 50-year-old of Ketches Lane invested £100,000 to create two film projects which would be used to try and steal £2.2 million.
One was called Starsuckers, the other called Mercedes the Movie, and Jenkins – working with a number of others - claimed to have spent £5.7 million on the projects.
This created artificial losses that allowed the investors to claim back PAYE tax they had paid.
The film project declared the losses in its tax return and so did the investors, which would have allowed them to recoup up to £40,000 in tax relief from HMRC, for every £20,000 they had invested.
But as the scheme was illegal their claim for tax relief was false as they were supported by false documents produced by Singapore based orchestrator Terence Potter, 55.
The fraud was foiled following an investigation by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Jennie Granger, director general of enforcement and compliance at HMRC, said: “This was pure greed by a dishonest tax agent, a financial adviser, and people who were already wealthy individuals.
“Those found guilty had no interest in the film industry, or regard for the impact on honest taxpayers.
“While it started with a tax adviser pushing a deeply fraudulent tax scheme, wealthy professionals investing in such schemes should be aware of the pitfalls.
“Those found guilty believed they were above the law, cheating the system by masking tax fraud as investment in films.
“Groundbreaking work from our expert investigators uncovered the full extent of the fraud, and this verdict shows that those who engage in this sort of activity are not beyond our reach.
“The message for anyone thinking of joining such a scheme is think again: if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Get independent tax advice and stay on the right side of the law.”