Fraudster millionaire jailed for selling fake bomb detectors
London: A British millionaire businessman, who made an "outrageous" 50 million pounds from sales of over 7,000 fake bomb detectors to countries, including Iraq and Saudi Arabia, was jailed for 10 years on Thursday.
James McCormick, 57, perpetrated a "callous confidence trick", said the Old Bailey judge.
The fraud "promoted a false sense of security" and contributed to death and injury, the judge said. He also described the profit as "outrageous".
Police earlier said the ADE-651 devices, modelled on a novelty golf ball finder, are still in use at some checkpoints.
Sentencing McCormick, Judge Richard Hone said: "You are the driving force and sole director behind [the fraud]."
"The device was useless, the profit outrageous, and your culpability as a fraudster has to be considered to be of the highest order," the BBC quoted the judge as saying.
One invoice showed sales of 38m over three years to Iraq, the judge said.
The bogus devices were also sold in other countries, including Georgia, Romania, Niger, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
Detective Superintendent Nigel Rock, of Avon and Somerset Police, said that soldiers, police, border guards, and hotel security staff had all trusted the devices.
Reiterating the judge's comments from inside court, Rock said: "McCormick's profits were obscene, and fed his greedy and extravagant lifestyle.
"And finally, and perhaps most importantly, he has shown no shame, he has shown no remorse, and he carried on with complete cavalier disregard for the consequences of his con- trick."
He said the next stage was to ensure that the "extravagant lifestyle is taken away" from McCormick, saying Iraqi authorities will now be "pursuing compensation through the civil court process in this country".
During the trial, the court was told the detectors, which cost up to 27,000 pounds each, were completely ineffectual and lacked any grounding in science.
McCormick bought novelty "golf ball detectors" which were little more than radio aerials from the US for less than USD 20 each, before selling them as bomb detectors for USD 5,000 each.
McCormick had claimed the devices could bypass "all forms of concealment", detecting drugs and people, as well as explosives, the court had heard.