John McAfee, the antivirus software program pioneer whose former firm nonetheless bears his identify, has been indicted on fraud and cash laundering conspiracy costs stemming from two cryptocurrency schemes, the US Division of Justice mentioned on Friday.
Authorities accused McAfee and his bodyguard, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr, of exploiting McAfee’s massive Twitter following to artificially inflate costs of “altcoins” via a pump-and-dump scheme, and concealing funds McAfee acquired from startup companies to advertise preliminary coin choices.
McAfee and his accomplices allegedly reaped greater than $13m from the schemes, in keeping with the US Division of Justice. The Commodity Futures Buying and selling Fee filed associated civil costs regarding the alleged pump-and-dump scheme.
Attorneys for McAfee and Watson couldn’t instantly be recognized.
McAfee is being detained in Spain following his arrest there on tax evasion charges, which was introduced in October, the justice division mentioned. Watson was arrested on Thursday night time, the division added.
Each additionally face civil costs by the US Securities and Alternate Fee, which in October accused McAfee of concealing greater than $23.1m he constituted of boosting seven cryptocurrency choices on Twitter.
McAfee turned the topic of a media frenzy in 2012 when he fled his house in Belize after police sought him for questioning about the death of a neighbor. They in the end mentioned he was not a suspect.
Within the cryptocurrency circumstances, authorities mentioned McAfee touted property together with Verge, Reddcoin and Dogecoin as a part of a “Coin of the Day” or “Coin of the Week” tweet from round December 2017 via February 2018.
Authorities mentioned McAfee held himself up as an knowledgeable on cybersecurity and cryptocurrency via his tweets, speeches and his position as a CEO of a publicly traded cryptocurrency firm.
In addition they accused him of telling followers he had no stake within the cash, at the same time as he touted how they “will change the world”.