NI actor jailed for Hollywood film tax scam

Four others also pretended to be making blockbuster in ‘entirely bogus film project’


A Northern Ireland actor was jailed today along with four others who pretended to be making a Hollywood blockbuster as part of a Stg£2.8 million VAT and film tax credits scam.

Inspectors were told that A-listers from Hollywood would be starring in a Stg£19.6 million production that would be shot in the UK.

But the film Landscape Of Lives was never made, and the only footage shot was seven minutes of “completely unusable quality” filmed in a flat and costing Stg£5,000.

Co Down actor and producer Aoife Madden (31) who is originally from Newry but now has an address at Maclise Road, west London, was said to have submitted a “pack of lies” to inspectors about the project.

She was sentenced to four years and eight months at Southwark Crown Court in central London.

Co-accused Bashar al-Issa (34), from Iraq and with British nationality, of Rodney Court, Maida Vale, London, was described as the orchestrator of the fraud. He was jailed for 6½ years by Judge Juliet May.

Two other defendants, Tariq Hassan (52), a Pakistani national, of Willingale Road, Loughton, Essex, and Osama al-Baghdady (51), an Iraqi national of Lowther Road, Crumpsall, Manchester, received four-year jail sentences.

A fifth defendant, architect Ian Sherwood (53), of Esher Drive, Sale, Manchester, who allowed his offices to be used for the fraud, was sentenced to 3½ years in jail.

Judge May said the fraud had been based on an “entirely bogus film project”.

All five were also disqualified from holding company directorships – Issa for 10 years; Madden for eight years, and Hassan, Baghdady and Sherwood for five years.

The court heard that Madden, whom the prosecution said played an important organisational role in the fraud, pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to two charges of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue between April 2010 and April 2011 related to VAT repayments and film tax credits.

Issa was convicted on both charges after a trial. Hassan was convicted of one charge – conspiracy to cheat the revenue in relation to film tax credits.

Baghdady and Sherwood were convicted of one charge of conspiracy to cheat the revenue in relation to VAT repayments.