Anti-virus mogul John McAfee charged with fraud over crypto promotion

Anti-virus mogul John McAfee charged with fraud over crypto promotion
John McAfee and bodyguard Jimmy Watson allegedly engaged in a scheme to exploit the ‘broad reach’ of McAfee’s Twitter account. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The antivirus software pioneer John McAfee, whose former company still bears his name, has been indicted on money laundering conspiracy and fraud charges stemming from two cryptocurrency schemes, the US Department of Justice said on Friday.

Authorities accused the Anti-virus mogul and his bodyguard, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr, of exploiting McAfee’s large Twitter following to artificially inflate prices of “altcoins” through a pump-and-dump scheme, and concealing payments McAfee received from startup businesses to promote initial coin offerings.

According to the US Department of Justice, McAfee and his aides allegedly reaped more than $13m from the schemes. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed related civil charges concerning the alleged pump-and-dump scheme.

McAfee and Watson’s lawyers could not immediately be identified.

The justice department said, McAfee is being detained in Spain following his arrest there on tax evasion charges, which was announced in October.

The department said Watson was arrested on Thursday night.

Both of them also face civil charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which in October accused John McAfee of concealing more than $23.1m he made from boosting seven cryptocurrency offerings on Twitter.

In 2012, McAfee became the subject of a media frenzy when he fled his home in Belize after police sought him for questioning about the death of a neighbor. They ultimately said he was not a suspect.

In the cryptocurrency cases, authorities said McAfee touted assets including Reddcoin, Verge and Dogecoin as part of a “Coin of the Day” or “Coin of the Week” tweet from around December 2017 through February 2018.

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