After three years of effort, the man behind the phony ADE 651 explosives detector (Jim McCormick) was convicted of fraud in Britain and sentenced to ten years in jail. An Iraqi general, accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes to buy $85 million worth of ADEs four years ago, is in jail on corruption charges.
Three years ago Iraqi police were still using the ADE, months after British authorities informed the Iraqi government that the bomb detector was a scam and simply did not work. Iraqi officials bought thousands of these hand held devices in 2009, for up to $60,000 each. At that time the manufacturer was already being investigated in Britain for fraud. In Britain it was obvious that the ADE was a fake. The ADE contained useless components and repeated tests showed that it could not detect anything. Early on it was believed that a large chunk of the money Iraq paid for the ADE 651 was kicked back to the Iraqi officials who approved the sale. The ADE 651 was very cheap to make, and the manufacturer made a huge profit even after paying the bribes. The “design” of the ADE was actually based on a $22 novelty (meant as a joke) “lost golf ball detector.”
No one in Iraq tested the ADE 651, they just took the government's word that the device worked and it was still being used over a year after it was officially known to be a fake. But many Iraqi police had already discovered that the ADE-651 was useless. When they complained they were told by some government officials that only some of the ADE-651s did not work. None of them worked, ever, and many Iraqis are demanding part of Mr. McCormick’s $11 million fortune as compensation for the fraud and those killed because of bombs that went off after escaping detection by ADEs.
The ADE was not the only fake bomb detector out there. Two weeks after the Iraqi ADE-651 scandal became public, the Thailand government ordered the Thai Army to stop buying (for about $30,000 each) GT200 bomb detectors. Scientific tests of the devices (similar to the equally ineffective ADE 651) showed that they were useless. But apparently much of the sales price was kicked back to military procurement officials, as the devices cost less than $10 to manufacture. Procurement officers insisted they are innocent. The GT200 was sold to many other countries (Mexico, the Philippines, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Lebanon, Jordan, China, and the UN) under similar circumstances. The GT200 was created by a different gang of crooks, led by Gary Bolton, and they were also prosecuted in Britain. Gary Bolton pled guilty last year. Despite that, some GT200s are still being used. The British men who created these phony devices spent millions of dollars of their ill-gotten gains to try and avoid prosecution and conviction. That’s one reason why it took over three years to convict all of them. Some of the buyers, who took large bribes to buy the fake bomb detectors, are still using their millions in bribes to avoid prosecution.