by Staff Writers
London (AFP) May 02, 2013
A British businessman was on Thursday sentenced to 10 years in jail for selling fake bomb detectors to the Iraqi government and other countries, by a judge who told him he had blood on his hands.
James McCormick made an estimated 50 million pounds ($76 million, 59 million euros) from selling the devices, which prosecutors said were based on a novelty golf ball finder and did not work.
Last week, a jury at the Old Bailey court in London found the 57-year-old guilty of three counts of fraud.
Passing sentence at England's central criminal court on Thursday, judge Richard Hone said McCormick had perpetrated a "callous confidence trick" that likely cost lives -- an estimation shared by former British military officials in Iraq.
"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," Hone said.
He said McCormick had shown a "cavalier disregard of the potentially fatal consequences" of his actions.
"What you perpetrated was a callous confidence trick," the judge told the businessman.
"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. You have neither insight, shame or any sense of remorse."
The Advanced Selection Equipment devices were marketed to governments and security organisations in glossy brochures which claimed they could find explosives, drugs, ivory and even people.
McCormick, from Somerset in southwest England, is believed to have made around 37 million pounds from sales to Iraq alone, where he sold 6,000 detectors.
The businessman told the court he had also sold detectors to the Egyptian army, Kenyan police, Hong Kong's prison service and Thai border control.
Other customers included Georgia, Niger, Belgium and United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon.
McCormick said one of his devices had been used to check a hotel in Romania before the visit of a US president in the 1990s, and insisted: "I never had any negative results from customers."
However, the prosecutor told the jury that McCormick had based his designs on 300 "Golfinder" novelty machines that he bought from the United States between 2005 and 2006.
Colour-coded "sensor cards" -- orange for explosives, blue for drugs and red for humans -- were slotted into the machines to make them "work".
Prosecutors said that former senior British officers in Iraq believed the fake devices had cost lives.
"The inescapable conclusion is that devices have been detonated after passing through checkpoints. Iraqi civilians have died as a result," said Brigadier Simon Marriner in a statement.
However, McCormick's lawyers said other devices had also been used at checkpoints and there was no proof that his client's detectors had resulted in deaths.
Police said they were now focused on tracking down the businessman's assets so they could seize them.
The Long War - Doctrine and Application
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|