John McAfee faces fraud and money laundering charges in crypto 'pump-and-dump' scheme

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,042   +817
Staff member
Facepalm: Bad boy John McAfee is in trouble again. Federal prosecutors have charged him and an associate with securities fraud and money laundering related to a cryptocurrency pump-and-dump scheme. If convicted on all counts, the two could face up to 100 years in prison.

The US District Court case, unsealed on Friday, charges John David McAfee and Jimmy Gale Watson Jr with racketeering-related crimes. If convicted on all counts, the two could face up to 100 years in prison.

According to the court documents, between December 2017 and October 2018, McAfee and his executive advisor Watson allegedly encouraged Twitter followers to invest in various cryptocurrencies, including Verge, Reddcoin, Dogecoin, and others. The two then sold off their own shares when prices rose, earning them almost $2 million profit and costing investors over $13 million.

"As alleged, McAfee and Watson used social media to perpetrate an age-old pump-and-dump scheme that earned them nearly two million dollars," said FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney in a DoJ press release.

"McAfee, Watson, and other members of McAfee's cryptocurrency team allegedly raked in more than $13 million from investors they victimized with their fraudulent schemes," Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss added.

McAfee and Watson face seven counts, carrying maximum penalties of five to 20 years in prison. Charges include wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The two may also be forced to pay an undisclosed sum in restitution.

This is not McAfee's first run-in with the law. The on-again-off-again tech entrepreneur spent most of 2019 and 2020 running from US authorities seeking to bring him to justice over several years of tax evasion. He was subsequently arrested in Spain last October and extradited to the US. In 2012, McAfee was arrested in Guatemala for entering the country illegally and deported to Belize, where he was wanted for allegedly putting a hit on his neighbor. He was ordered to pay $25 million in that case but did not comply, maintaining that he was innocent.

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Ludak021

Posts: 474   +352
You get told to buy because pump is in play, you buy. You know when dump starts (and you need people to place a "buy" order so no one is scammed any more than buying any other stock) and you place your sell orders or insta-sell (doesn't matter for here) I mean it's easy money for most.
Thanks John!
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 434   +581
The most surprising part of this story is that McAfee got investors to pump that much money into a company with his name on it. Almost as bad as someone seeing a wildlife tour guide service called Jeffrey Dahmer Tours and thinking, "that sounds great!".
 
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VitalyT

Posts: 5,711   +5,614
I have bigger quarrel with companies that put his horrific McAffee Antivirus on computers. This antivirus should be considered one of the top crapware, guaranteed to slow down your computer to the point of when it is unusable, and miss a lot of viruses at the same time.


 

amghwk

Posts: 1,055   +969
Put on a cowboy's hat and a scarf around his neck with smoking guns beside a horse, and he'll blend right in, in the Wild Wild West (or Red Dead Redemption II, if you prefer), as the most wanted man.
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,751   +761
I'm sorry, but shouldn't the people who listened to him for buying the cryptos that he suggested be responsible for their own choices? Surely, they could have done their own research like any other prospective investor should do? Silly people, John McAFee isn't known as an investor similar to the likes of Warren Buffet. Same as with Elon Musk when it came to Bitcoin.
 

umbala

Posts: 371   +487
All I have to say about John McAfee is this: if it looks like a douche, talks like a douche, and acts like a douche, it's probably a douche.
 

Digitalzone

Posts: 178   +103
Are any laws applicable to cryptocurrencies? I thought it's unregulated thus open to any kind of speculations... I think McAfee was just too visible doing it on their own cause others paid the media to do it for them. It's role in price increase is rather speculative, didn't Elon Musk do the same when annoucing buying bitcoins? Who knows he didn't use it in same scheme... Or is it searchable in chain?
 

mattferg

Posts: 171   +170
Wouldn’t any investors who bought BTC in 2017/18 now have way more money and no losses if they held it?
 

terzaerian

Posts: 960   +1,399
I'm sorry, but shouldn't the people who listened to him for buying the cryptos that he suggested be responsible for their own choices? Surely, they could have done their own research like any other prospective investor should do? Silly people, John McAFee isn't known as an investor similar to the likes of Warren Buffet. Same as with Elon Musk when it came to Bitcoin.
What law enforcement really wants John McAfee for, I imagine they don't have enough evidence to pin him to the wall with. Crypto crime is just the easiest way to do it because finance is basically Calvinball for the US legal system.