Millionaire businessman James McCormick found guilty of selling fake bomb detectors
A British businessman who sold bogus bomb detectors to countries at war where hundreds of people were dying and injured by explosive devices has been found guilty of fraud at the Old Bailey.
James McCormick made massive sums of money selling novelty ‘golf ball finders’ worth just $20 (£13) for up to $40,000 each. His maximum profits were from the vicious war in Iraq which became a byword for terrible suffering. The 57-year-old former policeman sold the devices to the government in Baghdad over a period of years for a total of $75 million.
McCormick had claimed that the ‘detectors’ could trace “everything from explosives to elephants” including narcotics, different types of fluids, gemstones, ivory and hidden people. They were able to operate, he maintained, through walls, underwater and underground.
In reality the equipment which was supposed to keep people safe from the bombers were useless. The aerial which was supposed to ‘sense’ the items was unconnected and there were no discernible power sources. A series of scientists who had tested the various models found nothing to justify the claims being made for them by McCormick’s company, ATSC, around the world.
Pakistan, Lebanon, Mexico and Thailand, states which faced murderous criminal and political violence, were other customers. There are allegations that in at least one of the markets, Iraq, there was bribery on a staggering scale to secure the deals. Major General Jihad al-Jabiri, the head of the Interior Ministry’s directorate for combat explosives, is now in jail on corruption charges. Defending the ‘detectors’ he had said “I don’t care what they say, I know more about bombs than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world”.
Detective Superintendent Nigel Rock of Avon and Somerset Police, who carried out the successful investigation leading to the case, warned the ‘detectors’ was still being used in some countries. He said “That device has been used and is still being used on checkpoints. People using that device believe it works, it does not. We have heard evidence from many, many experts, scientists, leaders in their field, who have said this was a fraud, a sham.
McCormick, from Langport, Somerset owned a a £3.5 million house in The Circus, Bath, where the actor Nicholas Cage was a neighbour, a £600,000 Sunseeker motor yacht, called Aesthete and a farmhouse with paddocks in Somerset, worth another £2 million. Restraint orders have been put on around £7 million worth of assets, while others are still being traced; no significant sums of cash have been found so far.
He was remanded on conditional bail to be sentenced on May 2.
Hilary Swank: Million Dollar Baby star says she turns down roles to care for elderly father
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Eiji Tsuburaya: Monster movie pioneer honoured in interactive Google Doodle
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words