A UK court has sentenced the chief salesman of the most notorious scam bomb detector in history to seven years imprisonment. Gary Bolton joins his partner in crime, James McCormick, who was sentenced in May to ten years, and their chief
Click on the embedded video above for an excellent background story on the scarcely believable fraud that was the GT200 bomb detector.
Here's the story from today's UK Guardian, Kent businessman jailed for seven years over fake bomb detectors:
A Kent businessman who made up to £3m a year from the sale of fake bomb detectors around the world has been jailed for seven years by a judge at the Old Bailey.
Gary Bolton, 47, hawked the bogus kit to military and police clients in countries including Mexico, Thailand, Pakistan, China, India, the Philippines, Singapore, Egypt and Tunisia despite it being based on a novelty golf ball finder.
The devices cost as little as £1.82 to make and were sold for as much as £15,000 [about $24,000]. They remain in use in Thailand, where human rights campaigners claim they have cost lives, and were only abandoned by Mexican agencies in 2011.
An embarrassing aspect of this sad business is that some UK government trade promotion entities - unwitting to the fraudulent nature of the devices - helped Bolton peddle his products abroad.
The court heard that branches of the UK government had offered some support to Bolton's enterprise, called Global Technical. They include UKTI, Whitehall's export sales arm, and the British embassy in Mexico, which from 2005 to 2009 offered support though introductions to potential clients and allowed Bolton's firm to use its premises for demonstrations.
Why would anyone buy a bomb detector that consisted of an empty plastic box and a telescoping antenna? Corruption is one answer, obviously. In a 2011 Report to Congress (here), the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction estimated that 75 percent of the value of McCormick and Bolton's considerable sales in Iraq had gone to bribes.
As for those reasonably honest police and military officials around the world who were genuinely taken in by the GT-200? Well, google "the ideomotor effect" for starters. But also reflect on the fact of life that fifty percent of everybody in any population group is below average. It might not have taken as much snake oil as you would expect to sell a guy an empty plastic box for $24,000.