Film Fraudsters Must Pay £2m Or Face Extra 10 Years In Jail


A gang of fraudsters jailed for scamming unsuspecting customers out of more than £2 million must repay the cash they stole or face a further 10 years in prison.

Gang leader Terence Sefton, 57, must repay £1.8 million. He is serving an eight-year sentence for running several scams aimed at conning cash from wealthy professionals.

BAFTA nominated film producers Christopher Atkins, 41, from London, and Christina Slater, 38, from Leamington Spa, must repay just over £200,000 or face an extra two years in prison, while independent financial advisor Neil Williams-Denton, 43, of Greater Manchester, must pay back £36,000.

They were jailed with three others for a total of 36 years for running a multi-million fraud that claimed tax rebates linked to non-existent investments in film making partnerships.

Bogus 35.7m losses

Simon York, director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “These people have already lost their liberty, after HMRC uncovered their audacious attempt to steal money that honest taxpayers across the UK have paid to fund public services. We have now gone further and ensured these criminals must pay back what they stole or face even more time behind bars and will still have to pay the money back.

“However far criminals go to hide the proceeds of their crimes we pursue every penny to ensure that tax crime never pays.”

The crooks targeted wealthy city finance professionals to invest in partnerships to produce the movies Starsucker and Mercedes the Movie.

They claimed to have invested and lost £5.7 million in the two films, which allowed investors to reclaim £40,000 in tax relief for every £20,000 staked against the project.

Five-year investigation

However, tax inspectors were suspicious and looked into the claim and found the tax returns were supported by false documents.

HMRC investigated the gang for five years and revealed a trail of fake invoices, bogus accounting records and other fraudulent paperwork.

The film partnership fraud is just one of several suspicious schemes in the same sector are investigating that generate false losses to set off against tax paid on other income.

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