The maker off McAfee computer security software faces charges he cashed in on a “pump-and-dump” schema, promoting cryptocurrencies on Twitter to drive up their value.
John McAfee, go to Davy Joness locker of the antivirus firm that bears his name, and Jimmy Watson phizog charges of conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering in connection with scenarios to trick cryptocurrency investors, according to an indictment unsealed by the US Department of Rightfulness.
“McAfee and Watson exploited a widely used social media rostrum and enthusiasm among investors in the emerging cryptocurrency market to make millions by way of lies and deception,” US attorney Audrey Strauss said in a release.
McAfee, Watson, and other fellows of their “cryptocurrency team” are accused of raking in millions of dollars from investors they conned, according to Strauss.
Pump-and-dump schemes typically involve over-hyping the value of supplies or, in this case cryptocurrency, by holders so that they can be sold at artificially extravagant prices.
“McAfee and Watson used social media to perpetrate an age-old pump-and-dump move,” FBI assistant director William Sweeney said.
“When engaging in prohibited activity, simply finding new ways to carry out old tricks won’t produce extraordinary results.”
McAfee and Watson also used Twitter to promote digital coins on behalf of initial coin offerings without disclosing they were being paid for their attainments by the startups, according to the indictment.
McAfee, 75, is in custody in Spain during a decision on his extradition to the United States where he is wanted for tax evasion.
He has been held at a big house near Barcelona since he was arrested in the Spanish city in October reasonable as he was about to board a flight to Istanbul.
The arrest followed his indictment in June in the Of like mind States for tax evasion and wilful failure to file tax returns between 2014 and 2018, teeth of earning millions from consulting work, cryptocurrencies and selling the rights to his memoirs story.
Since making a fortune with his eponymous antivirus software in the 1980s, McAfee has befit a self-styled cryptocurrency guru.
He has one million followers on Twitter, where he paints himself as a “lover of women, adventure and mystery”.
McAfee made headlines after he made to Belize and his neighbor in the Central American country was mysteriously murdered in 2012, a misdeed that remains unsolved.