UK & World News

  • 24 April 2013, 5:47

Businessman Sold Fake Bomb Detectors To UN

A businessman who made 50m from selling fake bomb detectors is facing a prison sentence after being found guilty of fraud.

James McCormick, 56, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of three counts of fraud after jurors heard the devices did not work.

McCormick, of Langport, Somerset, sold three types of detectors to Iraq, Belgium and Georgia - and to the United Nations for use in Lebanon.

But the Advanced Detection Equipment (ADE) devices had no scientific basis at all, with some models based upon novelty golf-ball finder equipment that could be purchased for $20 (13).

Although there was no fixed price for the units, one particular model, the ADE 651, could be sold for as much as $40,000 (26,250).

The court heard the units had no ability to detect explosives, "did not work in accordance with the known laws of physics" and were "completely ineffectual".

McCormick had claimed accompanying sensor cards could be slotted into the units to enable them to search for explosives, drugs and people.

He also used an International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators logo which he was not entitled to use.

The detectors were marketed to the military, police forces and governments around the world using glossy brochures and the internet.

Men dressed in military-type fatigues were shown using the detectors to find explosives, drugs, fluids, ivory and people.

McCormick, a former policeman and salesman, told the court he sold his detectors to police in Kenya, the prison service in Hong Kong, the army in Egypt and border control in Thailand.

He claimed one of them had been used to check a hotel in Romania before the visit of an American president in the 90s.

"I never had any negative results from customers," he said.

McCormick will be sentenced on May 2.

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