Sniffex

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Sniffex is a purported explosive detection system produced by Homeland Safety International, debunked as ineffective.[1][2] Sniffex Plus is now sold from Germany by Unival Security.[3]

An article in The Dallas Morning News in April 2007 explained that Sniffex is a divining rod and states that "In a test by the U.S. Navy, Sniffex didn't register when two trucks passed within 20 feet, hauling a half ton of explosives."[4] The Navy's counterterrorism technology task force tested Sniffex and concluded "The Sniffex handheld explosives detector does not work."[4] Despite this, the military bought eight for $50,000.[4]

Although high performance is claimed in advertising for Sniffex, such claims have not been verified by objective double blind testing.[5] During tests conducted at a public meeting by the president of the company,[6] Sniffex did not detect test explosives when the user did not know in advance where they were located.

The Sniffex device must not be confused with SniffEx, a prize-winning sensor developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL).[7] That sensor was originally called "Sniffex" until Homeland Safety International enforced its trademark and asked ORNL to stop using the name.[5]

In July 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed lawsuits against six company officers for driving "the share price from 80 cents to about $6 by issuing 33 news releases that contained mostly false information about the product and the company's financial situation to earn a combined $32 million in illegal profits."[8] In mid-July one suit was settled.[8] In addition, the SEC charged Homeland Safety International, promoters of Sniffex, "of being little more than the front for a $32 million stock fraud scheme that enriched insiders at the expense of unsuspecting investors".[9] The SEC complaint said the company "installed a figurehead CEO, named Paul B. Johnson, to hide the involvement of two Bulgarian residents who actually controlled the company" and "then issued a series of what the SEC alleges were false press releases."[9] One of the press releases included a claim of "'impressive'" results from tests conducted by the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. In reality, the tests were conducted by Johnson himself and the results were inconclusive".[9] While the stocks rose the insiders sold, and the stock was trading at one tenth of a penny as of July 17, 2008.[9] In July Mark B. Lindberg settled with SEC and a week later pled guilty to wire fraud.[10][11]

The HEDD1,[12] reportedly a "Sniffex with a battery stuck on it,"[13] is marketed by Unival Group of Bonn, the same company that markets Sniffex in Europe.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michael Grabell (July 17, 2008). "Bomb Sniffing Scam Exposed". Wired. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ Banks, Gordon (2005), Test Report: The Detection Capability of the Sniffex Handheld Explosives Detector, US Navy Sea Systems Command: Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, "The SNIFFEX handheld explosives detector does not work. The vendor failed to make good on any guarantee of the device's performance and provided no possible reason as to why the SNIFFEX was unable to perform as marketed."  Also available here.
  3. ^ a b "Sniffex Europe". Unival Group. Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Irving-based firm's device, stock trades under scrutiny Dallas Morning News, Monday, April 16, 2007
  5. ^ a b Sniffex fails a double blind test at a public demonstration (includes video clips)
  6. ^ Seventh Annual Tourism Safety & Security Conference, Anaheim, CA, April 2006
  7. ^ ORNL inventions win three 'Research and Development 100s
  8. ^ a b Michael Grabell (July 15, 2008). "SEC settles two lawsuits against Coppell man". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 9, 2008. 
  9. ^ a b c d "SEC: Bomb Detector—Bought by Military—Was Front for Scam". Pro Publica. July 17, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Coppell man pleads guilty in wire fraud". TradingMarkets.com. July 24, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2008. 
  11. ^ SEC. Securities and Exchange Commission, DOJ Department Of Justice (February 10, 2009). "Five Individuals Indicted for Devising and Participating in Stock Manipulation Scheme". PR Newswire. Retrieved February 16, 2009. 
  12. ^ "HEDD®1 - Handheld Explosive Detection Device". Unival Group.  Also: "Hazard Detection Group Explosives Detection Device HEDD1". Retrieved January 21, 2010. 
  13. ^ "What Is Newer Than ADE 651 GT200 And H3 Tec? Is it HEDD1?". Sniffexquestions Blog. January 14, 2010. 

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