John McAfee, the anti-virus mogul, has been indicted on fraud and money-laundering conspiracy charges stemming from two cryptocurrency schemes.
March 6, 2021 | AtoZ Markets – Cryptocurrency advocate and internet security pioneer John McAfee faces a number of different criminal charges, according to a new statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).
The department charged McAfee with “conspiracy to commit commodity and securities fraud, conspiracy to promote and commit securities fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and substantial wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy offenses stemming from two schemes related to the fraudulent promotion to investors of cryptocurrencies that qualify under federal law as commodities or securities,” the statement from the Department of Justice for the Southern District of New York said on Friday.
Jimmy Watson Jr. is also on the crime list for his role on “Team McAfee,” operating in the digital asset industry. Authorities detained Watson in Texas on Thursday, according to the statement.
Before now, McAfee was already facing charges from the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Sefor tax evasion and initial coin offerings, or ICOs, which he allegedly advertised for compensation without properly informing the public. After fleeing the US government in 2019, McAfee was arrested in Spain in October 2020.
McAfee remains incarcerated as of the Justice Department statement. “MCAFEE is currently in custody in Spain on separate criminal charges brought by the Tax Division of the US Department of Justice,” the Justice Department said on Friday.
“As alleged, McAfee and Watson leveraged a widely used social media platform and enthusiasm among investors in the emerging cryptocurrency market to make millions through lies and deception,” said Audrey Strauss, attorney for the Southern District of New York, in the statement from the Department of Justice, adding:
“The defendants allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to post messages to hundreds of thousands of his Twitter followers promoting various cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to hide their true self-interest motives. McAfee, Watson and other members of McAfee’s cryptocurrency team reportedly raised more than $13 million from investors they victimized with their fraudulent schemes. “
William Sweeney Jr., deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), referred to some of McAfee and Watson’s alleged efforts as “pump and dump” tactics. He also mentioned the alleged paid ICO promotion, of which the couple did not notify the public.
The Justice Department notice also explained that ” In separate parallel enforcement actions, the US SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have filed civil charges against MCAFEE and WATSON.”
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