Written By: Andrew Milne
James McCormick, 57, CEO of ATSC, was sentenced yesterday by a judge at the Old Bailey in London to 10 years behind bars. He was found guilty of selling what he had dubbed the detector of the century, otherwise known as the ADE 651. He made outlandish claims that it was able to detect everything from drugs to explosives and went as far as to add “even elephants and banknotes”. His phony device ended up being sold throughout the world.
McCormick raked in an estimated $78 million for dud detectors that were exported to Iraq, Niger, Kenya and Saudi Arabia to name just a few of the struggling troubled countries in the world stricken by conflict. He hit on the zones in the world where trouble was at a heightened level in the hope of playing on the fears and worries of armed forces, police and also private companies He even went as far as to bribe those granting contracts overseas.
Judge Richard Hone, presiding over the case, stated that he “contributed to causing death and injury to innocent individuals”. Confidence trickster McCormick had been selling the fake detectors that ran on the same type of system as a mere golf ball finder for sums as high as $42, 000. He made astounding claims in advertising that they were able to detect explosives and even find drugs immersed in water, but the technology was nothing more than a ruse and was completely bogus. The device wasn’t grounded in science. McCormick had no scientific knowledge and was simply a former policeman. He denied having set out to sell a fake device and added that his clients were all very happy. His delusions of grandeur even incited him to state that he knew more about bombs than anyone in the world.
According to police sources, the equipment is still being used despite his arrest by people who are not aware that it doesn’t work in conflict zones such as border controls in Iraq. Over the years, thousands of people have had their lives put at risk because of the fake device and that means both civilians and armed forces personnel in countries where McCormick exported to.
Nearly 5, 000 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the start of the conflict in 2003 and casualty levels are much higher. The toll on the Iraqi population stands at approximately 120, 000. How many of those deaths might have been avoided had McCormick not set out to make money hand over fist in a conflict which has caused the death and injury of thousands is a question of debate.