John McAfee has been charged with securities fraud over a “pump and dump” cryptocurrency scheme. Federal prosecutors unsealed a case in opposition to McAfee and his government advisor and bodyguard Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., claiming the pair earned almost $2 million by urging Twitter followers to spend money on cryptocurrencies like Reddcoin and Dogecoin, then promoting off their very own holdings as the worth rose.
“McAfee and Watson exploited a broadly used social media platform and enthusiasm amongst traders within the rising cryptocurrency market to make tens of millions by way of lies and deception,” mentioned US Lawyer Audrey Strauss in an announcement. “The defendants allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to publish messages to tons of of 1000’s of his Twitter followers touting numerous cryptocurrencies by way of false and deceptive statements to hide their true, self-interested motives.”
The pair allegedly ran their scheme between December 2017 to October 2018. McAfee used his verified Twitter account, which at the moment has round 1 million followers, to advocate a “Coin of the Day” or “Coin of the Week.” The indictment says McAfee claimed to don’t have any stake in these altcoins; in actuality, McAfee would allegedly purchase massive portions beforehand utilizing bitcoin, then offload them once more after his followers had pushed up the worth.
McAfee and Watson are dealing with seven costs, every rely carrying between 5 and 20 years in jail. The prison costs embrace wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit cash laundering.
McAfee — identified for founding the eponymous antivirus firm — was already arrested final 12 months on separate tax evasion charges. The Securities and Trade Fee sued him in October for fraudulently selling preliminary coin choices or ICOs. And in 2019, a court ordered him to pay $25 million for allegedly ordering the 2012 killing of his neighbor in Belize. (McAfee has denied involvement and refused to pay the funds.) These costs add one more layer to his alleged crimes.