Film Fraud Foursome Jailed for Cheating on British Tax Breaks

  • Four jailed in Birmingham for 98 million pound film tax fraud
  • Group claimed schemes made losses in order to claim relief

Four British men were jailed for a total of 29 years for running a fraudulent film investment scheme that saw them receive 98 million pounds ($133.6 million) in tax breaks, prosecutors said.

Keith Hayley, an accountant, and financial advisers Robert Bevan and Anthony Savill were sent to jail for nine years each while another accountant, Norman Leighton, was handed a suspended sentence, the Crown Prosecution Service said Friday in a statement.

The jail terms come after a series of film tax prosecutions that have seen bankers at Jefferies Group LLC convicted and former traders at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc cleared in 2015.

The cases are fallout from an investing boom that swept through the U.K. after then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown unveiled expanded film credits in his 1997 budget. Intended to boost a creative industry that had produced popular movies including "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "The Full Monty," the loophole was widely abused, leading to a government crackdown and dozens of lawsuits.

“These men used a scheme designed to boost the British economy and stole money from the public purse," Naheed Hussain, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said in a statement.

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