Conman James McCormick jailed for 10 years over fake bomb detectors
Judge who told him that he had blood of the innocent on his hands
A millionaire British businessman who sold bogus bomb detectors to countries at war, with hundreds being killed and maimed by explosive devices, was jailed for ten years yesterday by a judge who told him that he had blood of the innocent on his hands.
James McCormick is due to be freed under licence after five years of his sentence. However, he also faces another ten years in prison if he fails to disclose the whereabouts of the money - “obscene profits,” said Judge Richard Hone - from the sale of the devices which were based on novelty golf ball finders.
McCormick, a former policeman, made $75 million (£48 million) from the Iraqi government alone. Sequestration orders have been made on properties he owns in Britain which includes a £3.5 million home in Bath which used to be owned by the actor Nicolas Cage, a £2.5 million farmhouse in Somerset and a £600,000 yacht.
Detectives say they are tracing a money trail abroad; a series of hearings will take place, culminating in May next year, about the amount which he would have to surrender. The ‘golf ball finders’, which did not work, cost around $20 (£13) each; McCormick sold them for $40,000 (£26,000) each to the Iraqi government.
A former employee of the company which produced the devices, ATSC, recalled that when McCormick was challenged that the ‘detectors’ did not work, he responded “yes they do, they make lots of money.”
The Iraqi government is expected to make representations to secure some of the money as compensation for bomb victims in the country. However, it is believed that McCormick managed to get his contracts by the use of massive bribes.
Major General Jihad al-Jibiri, the head of the interior ministry’s directorate of combat explosives, is under arrest on suspicion of corruption over the purchase from McCormick.
Judge Hone told McCormick: "What you perpetrated was a callous confidence trick. The device was useless, the profit outrageous and your culpability as a fraudster has to be placed in the highest category. Your profits were obscene, funding grand houses, a greedy and extravagant lifestyle and even a yacht. You have neither insight, shame or any sense of remorse."
"I am wholly satisfied that your fraudulent conduct in selling so many useless devices for simply enormous profit promoted a false sense of security and in all probability materially contributed to causing death and injury to innocent individuals. You fought the case in the teeth of overwhelming evidence, in a last desperate gamble, you rolled the dice and you lost.
The Old Bailey court heard statements from British army officers that bomb blasts killing civilians in Baghdad occurred after truck bombs and other explosives had passed through checkpoints manned by security officers using the fake detectors. In a statement read out by Richard Whitam QC, prosecuting, Brigadier Simon Marriner said: "The inescapable conclusion is that devices have been detonated after passing through checkpoints. Iraqi civilians have died as a result."
Detective Inspector Ed Heath, a senior officer who investigated the case, said “This is not over by any means, we are tracing where he may have money hidden and this will be actively pursued. He will also have to disclose the whereabouts of funds he has and if he fails to do so he can expect another ten year sentence, this time no licence after five years. He is a conman who simply did not care about the costs in human terms for the profits he made.”
A group of Iraqis had waited outside the Old Bailey for the sentence. One of them, Nidhal Ailshbib, said "This man was responsible for exploiting a terrible situation for money, what a terrible thing to do. It is not just that he made money from deaths, he also put millions into the corruption which is so bably affecting our country to this day."
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should convert and not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in