A gang who pretended to be making Bollywood films as part of a £6m scam to claim VAT and film tax credits has been jailed and one of the four men, Anish Anand, 32, has absconded.
Anand, whose last known address is 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, HMRC said.
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 fake 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, HMRC were deceived into thinking that millions of pounds had been spent on producing feature films, when in reality repayments totaling £4.4 million had been claimed.
However, further attempts to obtain a further £1.7 million failed.
David Margree, assistant director at 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.”
The men 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 were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on 22 July 2013.