John McAfee, the antivirus software program pioneer whose former firm nonetheless bears his identify, has been indicted on fraud and money-laundering conspiracy expenses stemming from two cryptocurrency schemes, the US Justice Division mentioned.
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 so-called pump-and-dump scheme, and concealing funds McAfee acquired from startup companies to advertise preliminary coin choices.
The Justice Division mentioned McAfee and his accomplices reaped greater than US$13 million from the schemes. The costs have been introduced in Manhattan federal court docket.
The Commodity Futures Buying and selling Fee filed associated civil expenses regarding the alleged pump-and-dump scheme.
Manhattan US Lawyer Audrey Strauss mentioned in an announcement: “As alleged, McAfee and Watson exploited a broadly used social media platform and enthusiasm amongst buyers within the rising cryptocurrency market to make hundreds of thousands via lies and deception.”
Attorneys for McAfee couldn’t instantly be recognized.
McAfee is being detained in Spain following his arrest there on tax evasion expenses introduced in October, the Justice Division mentioned.
Watson was arrested on Thursday night time in Texas, the division added.
Watson’s lawyer Arnold Spencer mentioned in an announcement: “Jimmy Watson is a adorned veteran and former Navy Seal. He fought for different folks’s rights and liberties, and he’s entitled to and appears ahead to his day in court docket to train a few of these very rights.”
Each additionally face civil expenses by the US Securities and Alternate Fee, which in October accused McAfee of concealing greater than US$23.1 million he comprised of boosting seven cryptocurrency choices on Twitter.
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 skilled 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.”