A guy claiming to be a producer convinced the British government he'd made a movie called a Landscape Of Lies with a budget of just under $20 million and some big-name British talent. There's a law in Britain that says that any movie made with mostly British talent under $20 million gets a cash rebate up to 25 percent. You can see where this is going. Making that movie might have been lucrative, sure, but merely pretending to make it gets you $5 million! Not too shabby, as fraud goes -- you just need to hope no one ever thinks to ask to see the finished product.
Someone asked to see the finished product. So while the producer was being investigated for fraud, he came up with a new idea: Actually make the movie, but for $100,000. And he did that. Or he hired a guy who didn't know any better to do it. After duping a screenwriter into taking over creative duties on the film, with a slim budget and barely any actors, the movie was made. And word is it isn't half bad. It even won the Silver Ace at the Las Vegas International Film Festival ... which the festival later took back, claiming that no it didn't.
The whole scam was far more involved than what I can do justice to here, featuring falsified documents for expenses on the big-budget movie that never was. They had receipts for travel, the script, and even consultations with professional actors like Richard Burton, who's been dead since 1984. Can you even imagine what he costs these days? When they realized they were being investigated for tax fraud, the scammers threw the "real movie" Hail Mary based on the hope that maybe the division of the British government that hands out money for making movies can't tell the difference between a $100,000 film and a $20 million one.
It didn't work. The producer got six and a half years in prison. But hey, at least he produced a real movie. Sometimes your dreams come true in unexpected ways, kids!