LONDON: A British businessman who sold fake bomb detectors worldwide was jailed for seven years Tuesday, with his judge branding the devices “useless.”
Gary Bolton, 47, was the second Briton in three months to be jailed for selling fake bomb detectors to countries around the world including Iraq, Mexico, Thailand and Egypt.
The GT200 devices were no more than homemade boxes with handles and antennae, but Bolton claimed they could detect explosives, narcotics, tobacco, ivory and even cash.
Around 1,200 devices were sold to Mexico, while orders were also shipped to parts of Asia and the Middle East. The devices are still being used in Thailand, the court was told.
Bolton denied two counts of fraud but was convicted by a jury last month at the Old Bailey in London, England’s central criminal court.
Sentencing him, judge Richard Hone said Bolton had claimed the “little plastic box” was a working piece of equipment, and that he continued to “peddle” the GT200 to scores of international clients – including for use by armed forces.
“You were determined to bolster the illusion that the devices worked, and you knew there was a spurious science to produce that end,” the judge said.
“They had a random detection rate. They were useless. The jury found you knew this but you carried on. Your profits were enormous,” the judge said.
The boxes cost less than 5 pounds ($7.85) to make.
However, they were sold for between 2,500 pounds and 10,000 pounds in bulk or up to 15,000 pounds if bought individually.
The court heard Bolton’s company, Global Technology, had a turnover of almost 3 million pounds, with up to 5,000 devices made.
The prosecution told the court that Bolton had at his house another fake bomb detector made by Briton James McCormick, a former policeman and salesman from Somerset, in southwestern England, who was jailed for fraud in May, media said.
McCormick was sentenced to 10 years in jail for selling fake bomb detectors to the Iraqi government and other countries, by a judge who told him he had blood on his hands.