Business, Economics and Jobs

UK businessman jailed for selling 'golf ball finders' as bomb detectors


US Marines of 1st Combat Engineering Battalion of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade sweep the road for Improvised Explosive Devices in Garmsir district of Helmand Province on July 13, 2009.


Manpreet Romana

A British conman was sentenced Thursday to 10 years behind bars after making millions selling "bomb detectors" that turned out to be nothing more than novelty golf ball detectors, The Guardian reports.

James McCormick, 57, was given the maximum sentence after being found guilty of three counts of fraud. He had sold the devices to various security and police forces in Iraq, Kenya, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Egypt.

Judge Richard Hone characterized his actions as "cavalier disregard of the potentially fatal consequences."

From The Guardian:

He described how McCormick sold, with a small number of agents, 7,000 devices under the ADE brand to the Iraqi government and other international agencies for prices ranging from $2,500 (£1,600) per unit to $30,000, when they cost less than $50.

"The device was useless, the profit outrageous and your culpability as a fraudster has to be placed in the highest category," he told McCormick, who now stands to have assets worth millions of pounds confiscated.

The device McCormick sold was apparently based on an American-made product called "The Gopher," dubbed "The Amazing Golf Ball Finder." Despite its "amazing claim," a brochure that comes with the item bills it only as a fun novelty item. It costs less than $20.

"The inescapable conclusion is that devices have been detonated after passing through checkpoints," UK Brigadier Simon Marriner said in a statement to The Daily Mail. "Iraqi civilians have died as a result."

Despite having no power source, the devices, McCormick claimed, could detect explosives underground, inside buildings, and through walls.

"I never had any negative results from customers," McCormick told The Mirror.

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