The other gang members Amit Kumar, 35, Afsana Karim, 33, and Sanjeev Mirajkar, 36, provided false paperwork and bank statements to support their claims for Bollywood–style films that were never actually made or whose title had been stolen, were also sentenced.
One of their bogus productions was ”Billy”, the animated story of a Beagle dog escaping London Zoo to undertake a journey of self-discovery in the capital. It was never made.
Between 2007 and 2011, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) were deceived into thinking that millions of pounds had been spent on producing feature films. In fact repayments totalling £4.4 million had been claimed but attempts to obtain a further £1.7 million failed.
David Margree, Assistant Director, HMRC, said:
“This gang defrauded the taxpayer of a substantial amount of money. The majority of the payments obtained through this fraud were sent offshore, to Dubai, Luxembourg and India.
“We are keen to establish the location of Anish Anand, who has tried to cheat justice by absconding.”
They all denied their involvement in the fraud but were found guilty after a trial at Croydon Crown Court.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Anand. Anyone with information about his whereabouts can contact HMRC on 0800 59 5000.
The court had heard that Mirajkar was an experienced film editor, having worked on Bollywood films in the UK and India. He became a company director of a number of the companies involved in the fraud.
Kumar was working as video editor in London. He also acted as company secretary to two of the companies involved in the fraud.
Karim was a director of a number of companies involved in the fraud. Previously she had worked in the fashion and wedding photography industries.
Anand had previously worked in the wedding photography industry. He was a director of a number of companies involved in the fraud.
Three defendants denied tax fraud, but were found guilty after a seven-week trial. They returned to Croydon Crown Court for sentencing today (22 July 2013). Anand was found guilty and sentenced in his absence.
Notes for editors
<!--[if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Defendants’ details:
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Anish Anand, DOB 05/04/81, last known address Tregorrick Road, Coventry, absconded before the start of the trial. He was sentenced in his absence to seven years imprisonment for VAT fraud and two years imprisonment for film tax credits fraud. The sentences are to run concurrently. He was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Amit Kumar, DOB 22/12/77, of Romford Road, London E15, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for VAT fraud.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Afsana Karim, DOB 29/01/80, of Grosvenor Road, London, E7, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonments for VAT fraud and three months imprisonment for film tax credits fraud. Both sentences were suspended for two years and she was ordered to undertake 100 hours unpaid work.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Sanjeev Mirajkar, DOB 30/12/76, of Grovesnor Road, London, E7 was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment for VAT fraud and six months imprisonment for film tax credits fraud. The sentences are to run concurrently.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->Film tax relief is administered by HMRC and is available to legitimate film makers for British films that are intended to be shown commercially in cinemas and where at least 25 per cent of total production costs relate to activities in the UK.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Follow HMRC on Twitter - @hmrcgovuk
<!--[if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->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.