Newry actress’s fraud conviction to feature in BBC documentary

January 18, 2016

A Newry actress who has been jailed for her part in an elaborate tax fraud is the subject of a BBC documentary to be screened later this month.

Aoife Madden was one of a gang of five behind the making of a tax scam movie entitled ‘Landscape of Lives’ in an attempt to claim millions of pounds in tax breaks.

The gang had pretended that unnamed Hollywood A-listers would star in a multi-millon pound production to be filmed in the UK and claimed that a Jordanian company was backing the film to the tune of £19m.  However, 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 just £5,000.

When HMRC began investigating, the team of bogus film-makers hastily cobbled together a new movie, which they titled ‘A Landscape of Lies’, in a bid to cover up the original scam.  This low budget film was released on DVD in 2011 and starred former EastEnders actor Marc Bannerman and Loose Women star Andrea McLean.

HMRC later claimed that the movie was a sham all along and that the real intention from the outset was to “defraud the public purse of nearly £1.5m in VAT along with nearly £1.3m in film tax-credit claims”.

The producers behind it all were convicted in 2013, HMRC’s first prosecution for film tax relief fraud.

Madden pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to cheat the Revenue before the trial and was jailed for four years and eight months in 2013.

A Landscape of Lies documentary will be shown on BBC4 on 24th January.