British businessman convicted after making millions selling fake bomb detectors
A British businessman has been convicted of fraud after making millions of dollars selling fake bomb-detection equipment to countries including Gulf states.
James McCormick made an estimated $76m from sales of his detectors to countries including Iraq, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
McCormick manufactured and sold the hand-held "ADE 651" devices to countries at serious risk from bombings, claiming they could detect explosives, drugs and other substances.
But London's Old Bailey court was told the detectors had no working components, lacked any basis in science and did not work in accordance with the known laws of physics.
Detective Superintendent Nigel Rock, senior investigating officer at Avon and Somerset Police, said: "There was no evidence demonstrated, that McCormick or his company - ATSC UK - conducted any proper research or development into the products manufactured.
"He sold his detection devices to many governments, defence agencies and private institutions around the world. A large proportion of these were countries where there was and still remains a real risk of terrorism and criminality.
"McCormick showed a complete disregard for the safety of those that used and relied upon the device for their own security and protection. He amassed many millions of pounds through his greed and criminal enterprise."
Britain's Press Association quoted prosecutors as saying the detectors were based on a novelty machine for finding golf balls which could be bought in the United States for under $20.
During his trial, McCormick also said he had sold his detectors to police in Kenya, the prison service in Hong Kong, the army in Egypt and border control in Thailand. Iraq bought 6,000 devices at a cost in excess of $40m.
McCormick said he had had no negative reports from customers. He will be sentenced next month.