A CORNISH film producer who masterminded a £1.5 million VAT fraud has been found guilty today.
Richard Driscoll, of Wendron, Helston, but whose studio was based at Lancarrow, Four Lanes, Redruth, wrote and directed Eldorado – the first modern British film to be shot in 3D.
The film features a number of well-known British and Hollywood actors, including former Dr Who Sylvester McCoy and Splash actress Daryl Hannah.
It was also the last to be made by David Carradine, of Kung Fu fame, before he died in 2009 and will be released posthumously following his accidental death after the film had finished.
Southwark Crown Court heard how Driscoll, aged 53, had falsified invoices for the costs of making films in order to reclaim VAT back and set up a number of associated companies that were used to commit the offences.
The claims for repayment of £1.5 million VAT was based on production costs of more than £9 million but investigators found that the costs were actually less than £1 million.
Bogus invoices were sent to support the false repayment claims and other invoices were genuine but had their values inflated.
Paul Barton, assistant director of criminal investigation at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said: “Our 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.
“I urge anyone with information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud to contact HMRC’s Tax Evasion hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Driscoll will be sentenced next month.