Fake bomb detector seller James McCormick to serve longer sentence

News / April 25

The Somerset fraudster behind a fake bomb detector business, James McCormick, received a default sentence of 842 days in prison last Friday (April 20) for failing to forfeit cash and assets worth nearly £8million.

The Somerset fraudster behind a fake bomb detector business, James McCormick, received a default sentence of 842 days in prison last Friday (April 20) for failing to forfeit cash and assets worth nearly £8million. 

McCormick, 62, who was due to be released from HMP Dartmoor soon, appeared at North Somerset Magistrates Court via video link where he refused to meet a £1.8million shortfall. 

A specialist Financial Investigator at the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) has worked with the Crown Prosecution Service Proceeds of Crime team to seize money and assets to meet the £7,944,834.70 confiscation order made on June 15, 2016 at the Old Bailey. 

At the hearing, the court stated that McCormick benefited to the sum of £21,354,169.79 from his fraudulent offending.  Assets including property in Somerset, vehicles, a luxury yacht and a flat in Bath have been seized, as well as £4,421,813.03 held in bank accounts.

A total of nearly £2.6million in compensation has been handed over to countries affected by the fraud, including Bahrain, Republic of Georgia, Republic of Iraq and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

McCormick was sentenced to 10 years following an extensive investigation by Avon and Somerset Police.

Detective Inspector Peter Highway, in charge of the Criminal Finance Team, said: “When McCormick was sentenced both the judge and senior officer made reference to his ‘obscene’ and ‘outrageous profits’ and ‘greedy, extravagant lifestyle’.

“Following Avon and Somerset’s successful criminal investigation, our team has worked on an international basis to seize money and assets from him, and based on his refusal to meet the shortfall last Friday, this work will continue.

“People wrongly assume if they do their time, the debt is written off.  The default sentence is for failure to pay up, but we will keep revisiting cases months or years down the line.  If money or assets are identified or he comes into funds in the future, we can look to take them under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

“It’s worth remembering, too, that lives were undoubtedly lost as a result of McCormick’s bogus bomb detectors.”

Nick Price, Head of CPS Proceeds of Crime, said: “James McCormick sold fake bomb detectors and lied about their safety, whilst making huge profits that he used to fund a luxurious lifestyle for himself.

“The CPS analysed McCormick’s finances and found he obtained more than £21million from his criminal conduct. The Proceeds of Crime team identified assets including property in England and overseas as well as hidden assets of almost £2million resulting in his £7,944,834 confiscation order.

“Since the order was made the CPS has worked closely with financial investigators in the SW ACE team, international authorities and the enforcement receiver to ensure McCormick’s assets were realised including a villa in Cyprus, a yacht and funds held in overseas bank accounts.

“McCormick failed to repay the order in full, so the CPS returned the case to court. The court ruled that his default sentence of 842 days should be activated, meaning he must serve a longer custodial sentence.”