Antivirus software maker accused of deceiving investors

Antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee charged with fraud and money laundering conspiracy crimes in new unsealed indictment in New York

NEW YORK – Antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee has been charged with fraud and money laundering conspiracy, alleging he and his cohorts have made more than $ 13 million deceiving zealous investors in the emerging crypto market -currencies, authorities said on Friday.

McAfee, 75, was indicted in a newly unsealed indictment in Manhattan federal court with Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., who served as executive adviser on what prosecutors described as the “so-called team of cryptocurrency ”from McAfee.

Prosecutors said Watson, 40, was arrested Thursday night in Texas and will appear before a federal judge in Dallas for the first time on Friday. McAfee, authorities say, is being held in Spain on separate criminal charges filed by the tax division of the US Department of Justice.

Lawyer Arnold Spencer, representing Watson, said his client was a decorated former Navy Seal.

“He has fought for the rights and freedoms of others, and he has the right and is looking forward to his day in court to exercise some of those rights,” he said in an email.

“Criminal indictments are blunt instruments, not precise scalpels,” Spencer added. “This is not the right place to debate whether advanced technologies like cryptocurrencies are securities, commodities or something else.”

It was not immediately clear who could represent McAfee. There was still no lawyer registered for him in federal court in Memphis, Tennessee, where tax charges were filed against him in October.

“McAfee and Watson have harnessed a widely used social media platform and the enthusiasm of investors in the emerging cryptocurrency market to earn millions through lies and deception,” said US lawyer Audrey Strauss in a statement describing the crimes committed in 2017 and 2018.

“The defendants allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to post messages to hundreds of thousands of its Twitter followers touting various cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to cover up their true self-interested motives,” she added. .

In October, McAfee was indicted in Tennessee on tax evasion after failing to report income generated from promoting cryptocurrency while working as a consultant, speaking and selling the rights to his life story. for a documentary.

McAfee developed the first Internet security software and has been called upon by authorities in the United States and Belize in the past.

The Tennessee indictment stated that McAfee did not file tax returns from 2014 to 2018, despite receiving “considerable income” from several sources.

In July 2019, McAfee was released from detention in the Dominican Republic after he and five others were suspected of traveling on a yacht carrying large caliber weapons, ammunition and military-style equipment, told the era of the makers of the Caribbean island.