The US has charged antivirus magnate John McAfee for cryptocurrency promotion fraud – Business Insider South Africa

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John McAfee at a Florida hotel in February 2012. (

John McAfee at a Florida hotel in February 2012. (Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images)

  • McAfee Antivirus creator John McAfee is being indicted in the US for a second time.
  • This indictment is related to “the fraudulent promotion to investors of cryptocurrencies.”
  • McAfee faces a variety of charges, and is currently detained in Spain for a prior indictment.
  • Visit Business Insider SA for more stories.

Cybersecurity mogul and former US presidential candidate John McAfee is facing a variety of charges brought by the American Department of Justice, according to a newly unsealed indictment.

McAfee is being charged on a range of offences, “stemming from two schemes relating to the fraudulent promotion to investors of cryptocurrencies qualifying under federal law as commodities or securities,” the DOJ statement published Friday said.

Those charges range from, “conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud” to “money laundering conspiracy offenses,” and come in addition to a series of prior charges related to alleged tax evasion.

More specifically, McAfee and a colleague “allegedly raked in more than $13 million from investors,” Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said, through a variety of means related to cryptocurrency.

“The defendants allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to publish messages to hundreds of thousands of his Twitter followers touting various cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to conceal their true, self-interested motives,” Strauss said.

McAfee has over 1 million Twitter followers, and remains active on the social media platform – even though he’s currently imprisoned in Spain due to the prior tax evasion charges. In his profile, McAfee described himself as an, “Iconoclast,” and a, “Lover of women, adventure and mystery.” 

McAfee didn’t respond to a request for comment as of publishing.

McAfee once lived in Belize and allegedly got caught up with drugs and other illegal activities. In 2012, a neighbour of McAfee’s in Belize, Gregory Faull, was murdered. Sought for questioning as a “person of interest,” McAfee fled to Guatemala, and after being arrested there on accusations of entering the country illegally, he suffered heath-related issues and ultimately was expelled from Guatemala and sent back to the US.

In mid-2020 the US indicted him on tax charges, saying he had “willfully attempted to evade and defeat income tax due”, and he “attempted to evade [US tax authorities] by concealing assets, including real property, a vehicle, and a yacht, in the names of others.”

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