A British businessman has been found guilty of an $84-million fraud involving the sale of fake bomb detectors to Iraq and other countries.
A jury found Jim McCormick guilty on three counts of fraud over the scam, which involved passing off novelty golfball finders, containing no functioning electronics, as bomb detectors.
They "ADE651" detectors were installed at checkpoints in Baghdad through which car bombs and suicide bombers passed, killing hundreds of civilians. According to The Guardian, they were in use at least up to last month at checkpoints across the Iraqi capital.
Experts said the detectors lacked any grounding in science, and did not work in accordance with the known laws of physics. McCormick, aged 57, sold 6,000 of the useless devices for as much as £27,000 each.
McCormick, director of British-based security company ATSC, claimed his devices could detect minuscule traces of explosives, class A drugs, ivory and human beings at a distance of up to 1km at ground level and from a plane flying 5km high, reported The Telegraph.
A former colleague of McCormick told the BBC he saw him set up accounts in false names for 15 Iraqi officials. General Jihad al-Jabiri, who ran the Baghdad bomb squad, is in jail on corruption charges relating to the contracts.
McCormick will be sentenced next month, and faces up to eight years in jail.
(Sources: The Guardian, The Telegraph, BBC)