Men jailed for Formula One tax relief scam

|News, Fraud and economic crime

Four men who set up a filming company to claim fraudulent tax rebates worth more than £2million from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been sentenced today (4 June).

Lee Palmer, Simon Hill, Rod Bond and Simon Osborne were involved in a tax relief scheme called Formula One Limited Liability Partnership which was said to be to acquire and develop film projects.

To benefit from the tax relief, members needed to spend 10 hours a week working on the partnership. If the partnership made a loss, the members would be able to claim a share of its losses against their own income.

Nine investors signed up to the scheme contributing £1.171million. If the scheme had been successful, investors would have been able to double their contributions in tax rebates.

The men submitted false tax returns to HMRC and sent dishonest correspondence to claim they had spent time on the partnership including individual diaries setting out their work day by day over 15 months.

Alex White, from the CPS, said: “Tax rebates were available for genuine schemes that sought to be successful. Instead, these men took advantage of this as part of a scheme to claim more than £2million from HMRC.

“Simon Osborne was a financial advisor to two investors and played a key role in submitting false documents on his clients’ behalf. Lee Palmer, Simon Hill and Rod Bond took advantage of the scheme, knowing its true purpose.

“The CPS showed that these documents, including diaries, were wholly false and had been fabricated using a computer programme. Those submitted to HMRC were deliberately misleading and designed to dishonestly obtain tax advantages.”

Osborne, Bond and Palmer were sentenced to two years and eight months in prison. Hill received 20 months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

Notes to editors

  • Lee Palmer (DOB 27/03/1973), Rod Bond (DOB 12/12/1958) and Simon Osborne (DOB 17/03/1960) denied one count of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue but were convicted by the jury. Simon Hill (DOB 27/05/1968) admitted one count of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue
  • Alex White is a Senior Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS Specialist Fraud Division.

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