U.S. federal prosecutors have charged John McAfee, founding father of cybersecurity agency McAfee, and his government advisor Jimmy Gale Watson Jr for cryptocurrency fraud and cash laundering.
In complete, McAfee, Watson, and different members of the McAfee Workforce have been in a position to acquire over $13 million from two cryptocurrency pump-and-dump schemes, in response to court documents.
Twitter account used for cryptocurrency fraud
Between December 2017 and January 2018, they netted greater than $2 million in illicit income by way of altcoin scalping, a fraudulent apply often known as a ‘pump and dump’ scheme.
From December 2017 by way of 2018, they earned roughly $11 million by working a parallel scheme being paid to advertise the preliminary coin choices (ICOs) of a number of startups whereas concealing the funds they obtain from ICO traders.
Between December 2017 and October 2018, McAfee, Watson, and one other workforce member additionally laundered the digital asset proceeds stemming from the scalping and ICO touting schemes.
“The defendants allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to publish messages to tons of of hundreds of his Twitter followers touting numerous cryptocurrencies by way of false and deceptive statements to hide their true, self-interested motives,” Manhattan U.S. Lawyer Audrey Strauss said.
“McAfee, Watson, and different members of McAfee’s cryptocurrency workforce allegedly raked in additional than $13 million from traders they victimized with their fraudulent schemes.”
McAfee at present detained in Spain
They have been charged in a seven-count indictment, with every rely carrying most potential sentences of between 5 and 20 years in jail.
The U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC) has additionally filed civil charges towards McAfee in a separate enforcement motion.
He was indicted for being paid over $23 million in digital property whereas pretending to be neutral and unbiased of the ICOs he was selling.
“McAfee, assisted by Watson, allegedly leveraged his fame to deceptively tout quite a few digital asset securities to his followers with out informing inves