Another Film Fund fraudster faces jail

Swindler put Daryl Hannah, Peter O'Toole and David Carradine in fraudulent film.

by Jennie Kermode

Cornish businessman Richard Driscoll is facing a possible prison sentence after being convicted of tax evasion related to the Film Tax Credit Fund. The 54-year-old was found to have claimed false VAT rebates after lying about the cost of three projects which included Eldorado, starring Daryl Hannah and narrated by Peter O'Toole.

The final film to star David Carradine, who was found dead in a Thai hotel room shortly after his scenes were shot, Eldorado also features Michael Madsen, Brigitte Nielsen, Jeff Fahey, Steve Guttenberg and former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy. It's roughly based on an Edgar Allen Poe poem but also features a Blues Brothers tribute band, a strip club owner's wife on the run and a town full of cannibals. It was due to be released in 2012 but sales company Fantastic Films International reports that it never received it.

Driscoll, who also starred in the film himself, claimed to have spent £9M on this and two other films which never got out of pre-production. This enabled him to acquire £1.5M through the Film Tax Credit scheme. In actuality, the original budget for the film was just £1M. In his defence, Driscoll claimed that he had signed the invoices without knowing they were false, but email he had sent revealed otherwise.

Three other people who worked on the films with Driscoll were cleared of any involvement in the fraud. The case follows a similar one in March which saw five people convicted in relation to fraudulent film A Landscape Of Lies.

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