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.

Further reading:

Mystery surrounds how James McCormick managed to build thriving business selling fake bomb detectors

‘Bomb detectors’ sold by Briton were novelty ball finders, court told

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy