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Film producer guilty of VAT fraud

Press Release   •   Jun 06, 2013 09:57 BST

The producer of the first modern British film to be shot in 3D has been found guilty of a £1.5 million VAT fraud.

The film, Eldorado, which featured a number of well-known British and Hollywood actors, including former Dr Who Sylvester McCoy and Splash actress Daryl Hannah, was the last to be made by David Carradine, of Kung Fu fame, before he died in 2009.

Richard Driscoll falsified invoices for the costs of making films in order to reclaim VAT back that he was not entitled to and set up a number of associated companies that were used purely to commit the crime.

Paul Barton, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“HMRC 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 owned a film studio in Cornwall where the films were made. 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.

Notes for Editors

1. Richard Driscoll, 13/01/1960, Wendron, Helston, Cornwall. He is a director of Higher Nanpean Film Studios Ltd (HNFS Ltd); House of Fear Ltd (HOF Ltd); House of Fear Film Production Ltd (HOFFP Ltd); and Grindhouse Films Ltd.

2. Driscoll was arrested on 6 June 2011 and later charged with VAT fraud. He was found guilty today (5 June 2013) at Southwark Crown Courte of conspiracy to defraud VAT. He will be sentenced on 1 July 2013 by the same court.

3. Driscoll’s Nanpean Studio was based at Lancarrow, Four Lanes, Redruth, Cornwall.

4. The fraud took place between January 2009 and September 2011.

5. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

6. HMRC’s flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.