Four sentenced at Croydon Crown Court in latest film fraud case.

Anish Anand, Amit Kumar, Sanjeev Mirajkar and Afsana Karim were today sentenced at Croydon Crown Court for cheating the public revenue of more than £5m ($7.7m).

The fraud involved bogus VAT receipts and film tax relief claims and the creation of 20 front companies and multiple bogus films. 

Anand received seven years and disqualification for seven years as a director, Mirajkar 30 months, Kumar 18 months and Karim a 12-month suspended sentence for two years and 100 hours of unpaid work.

Neena Jhawer, a specialist fraud lawyer at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This sophisticated fraud involved an attack on two separate elements of the tax system, VAT and film tax relief. More than 20 film industry companies were used to facilitate both elements of the fraud, many which were set up solely for that purpose.”

“Over a period of four years, the defendants went to extraordinary lengths to establish an apparently legitimate front to what they were doing: producing false invoices, scripts for films, shooting schedules, crew and cast lists, detailed budgets, contracts with writers and producers, and rented offices complete with letter heads and business cards.”

“Like all fraud, however, this case boiled down to two very simple notions; greed and dishonesty,” she continued. “Had this fraud not been detected by HM Revenue and Customs, it would have cost them nearly £7m. This was clearly a very significant attack on the public purse and on a system designed to support and promote the UK film industry.”