Antivirus Software Pioneer John McAfee Charged with Cryptocurrency Fraud

John McAfee
Source; John McAfee Twitter account

John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer, is facing a criminal complaint in connection with two schemes related to the fraudulent promotion of cryptocurrencies to investors.

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According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, McAfee was indicted along with his cryptocurrency team’s executive adviser, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr.

The criminal charges filed against them include conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities and touting fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and substantive wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy.

In October last year, the Department of Justice and the Securities andExchange Commission (SEC) filed two separate lawsuits against McAfee. The DOJ accused him of “tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns.” The SEC alleged that he violated federal securities laws by fraudulently promoting initial coin offerings (ICOs).

McAfee and his cryptocurrency team allegedly engaged in a “pump-and-dump” scheme

McAfee and Watson allegedly participated in the so-called “pump-and-dump” scheme by exploiting social media such as Twitter to promote and artificially inflate the price of altcoins. The defendants allegedly made false and misleading statements regarding their investment positions in altcoins. They allegedly concealed to the investing public that they acquired altcoins with the intention of selling them in the short-term.