Category: Tech / Sci / April 23, 2013 1:39 PM EDT
A British businessman was convicted of fraud on Tuesday (April 23) after making millions of dollars selling fake bomb-detection equipment based on a golf-ball finder to countries around the world, endangering rather than protecting lives there.
James McCormick, 56, manufactured and sold the hand-held "ADE 651" devices to countries at serious risk from bombings such as Iraq, claiming they could detect explosives, drugs and other substances.
But the detectors had no working components, lacked any basis in science and did not work in accordance with the known laws of physics, London's Old Bailey court heard.
"The court have heard evidence that the device has no basis in science. In fact, there are no working parts in that device - it is empty. McCormick for ten years has sold this device in countries that are racked with terrorism and racked with explosions. He has paid no heed to the people who stood on checkpoints, at security posts believing this device worked. We've heard evidence from many, many experts - scientists, leaders in their field - who have all said this device is a fraud, a shame. McCormick made millions and millions of dollars from the sale of this device and today he's rightly been convicted by the jury," said Detective Superintendent Nigel Rock of Avon and Somerset Police outside court.
"That device has been used and is still being used on checkpoints. People using that device believe it works - it doesn't," he added.
Speaking in 2010, the Inspector General of Iraq's Interior Ministry called for serious action after the device's capability was questioned, calling it waste of money and a "waste of the Iraqi blood".
Britain's Press Association quoted prosecutors as saying the detectors were based on a novelty machine for finding golf balls which could be bought in the United States for under $20.
Marketing material claimed items could be detected up to 0.6 miles (1 km) underground, at up to 3 miles from the air and 100 feet (33 metres) under water.
McCormick said he had had no negative reports from customers. He will be sentenced next month.
Video Source: Reuters